Monday, April 28, 2014

I want to be a tree.

I want to be a tree.  A dogwood tree.  Yep.  You read it right.  No, I'm not crazy.  Just a little 'touched'.  :)
The other day my daughter heard a knock at the door, and after ensuring the person knocking posed no threat, she opened it to see what the person wanted.  You see, we live in between two churches, and often people knock on our door to see if we will help with something assuming we are associated with the churches.  Much to my daughter's surprise, the elder woman merely wanted a picture of the little dogwood tree in our front yard.  It was just so beautiful in its fully-bloomed splendor that it caught her attention, made her smile, and touched her heart with its beauty.  So she had to have a picture of it herself and to share with others.  The delight in her face when my daughter told her to take as many pictures as she liked was something that stuck with my daughter enough to make an impression.
This little tree is one we've watched grow in the eight years we've lived here, and I delight in it every year as it reflects God's glory in every season.  The transitions are wonderful, and this year the result of Spring's arrival made for a spectacular display of beautiful flowers.  While we are used to God showing off in our little tree, each season brings an anticipated and appreciated renewal of His love and beauty, it's nice when I hear of other people who appreciate the little tree.
What's funny is that when it first blooms, the flowers are green.  Yes - green.  And not necessarily a pretty thing.  Here's what it looks like, taken just before it started to turn white.  Nothing spectacular, right?  But it still draws the attention of those passing by as it continues its transition.
Even though the tree isn't spectacular at this point, I know that it soon will be.  When the time is right, it will be filled with the splendor of white blossoms, catching the eye of people passing by.  In this case, enough for them to be inspired.
That made me think of the way God works, and how He's often worked in my own life.  I've been "green", wondering if at that time I'm being used for God's glory, waiting for God to perfect me and make me "white". When I'm close to Him, I feel close to "white".  Always in transition, hoping God can use me in every transition of my life.
You see, I want to ensure His Kingdom work is getting the attention of passers by enough for them to stop and take notice.  I want to be drawing others to Christ either indirectly or directly, so they would take a moment to feel God's love, smile, and be drawn in their heart to His plan for their lives. Then I want them to be so eager that they want to take a "picture" of that moment and be eager to share it with others.  That's how it's done.  Through our spoken testimonies, unspoken daily examples, and our support of others working for God, we can be part of bringing others to the saving knowledge of Christ.
I stopped in my tracks and questioned myself.  Am I showing off God's splendor or hiding it?  Am I living in a way and doing all I can to help others stop in their tracks and say "That's what I want!  I want that beauty in my life."  I want to help others have the moment where they ask "Can I take a picture of this?" (their moment of joy and splendor in the Risen Savior).  So they can look at it (their relationship with Jesus Christ), and say "This is beautiful.  I want to share it with others."  
In the transformation from bare, to green, to white, the transition of Christ's renewal appears in this little tree. As I grow more in Christ, as we all grow more in Christ, we become more like Him.  2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) puts it this way "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."  
Where are you in this transformation - this shift of 'one degree of glory to another'?  Has the veil of denial, doubt, unworthiness, or even the veil of not knowing anything about Jesus Christ kept you 'bare', or even 'green'?  Are you waiting to be made 'white' in the beauty of salvation in our Lord?  If you are 'bare' - it's time to stop and claim the life God wants for you. To claim salvation and eternal life in heaven with our Lord. If you feel 'green' - it's time to be reassured that in spending time in God's Word and focusing on your relationship with Jesus Christ you are still being used by God, refined to His image, and no matter your situation - beautiful.  
And in His timing, His moments of splendor, we are used - either behind the scenes or out in the open - to bring the splendor to others, making them stop in their tracks.  Creating a moment, a snapshot in time, to give hope and a smile to one person... who will do so for another... who will do so for another... and so on.  Until we are all "white".  Like this:
I want to be a tree.  A dogwood tree.