I may need to see someone about my obsession with trees. A month ago in a post called “Why God Wants to Bless You,” I blogged about the tree in Psalm 1:3, its many uses, and what the illustration could mean for Christians. Two weeks ago in “A Planting of the Lord,” I skipped over to Isaiah 61:3 and discussed the oaks of righteousness and how, when we’re accomplishing God’s purpose for us, we help those around us flourish. You’d think I’d be finished with metaphors about trees, but last week, we traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, where pines, oaks, and magnolias flourish in the moist climate. And so, of course, I thought about trees.
I took a walk in the outskirts of Jackson and found myself wandering down what I think must’ve been a logging path, a wide swath of cleared land surrounded on two sides by pine forest. (A normal person would’ve stuck to the sidewalks. Nobody ever accused me of being normal.) I walked to the edge of the clearing and looked up at the pines above me.
Psalm 84:11 reads in part, “The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Those words—“The Lord gives grace and glory”—filtered through my mind last week as the sun filtered through the Mississippi treetops. I thought of those trees that had begun as mere saplings. By God’s grace, they’d grown and become tall and strong. Where once they were pinecones littering the ground, now their glory, beauty, and majesty towered nearly a hundred feet in the air.
In the same way, the Lord by his grace gives us all we need to accomplish His will; He gives us glory in our own talents and abilities, beauty and strength, which are mere reflections of His glory. When we walk uprightly, God withholds nothing we need. When we’re accomplishing God’s plans in our lives, that glory he gives us should encourage those around us to look up, beyond our meager accomplishments to the One who shines high above us all.
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.