Bent and Broken Trees

I was running through a nature preserve today and saw a tree that was bent over, it’s top touching the ground.

I always feel bad for trees like that. It makes me wonder how they got that way and what hope they have to make it much longer. Was it trauma when it was small? Another mightier tree that fell nearby, bringing it down with it? Or maybe a gust of wind pushed it over.

There are many things that can affect the life and growth of a tree. Some things happen when they are young. Other factors come along much later.

It got me thinking about how that is just like us. A bent branch here…a cracked trunk there…trauma small and large alike charting a course for the future direction of our lives. Sometimes the mighty people of our lives took a great fall and we have never been the same either – they took us right along with them…bent, broken, never the same again.

The good news is God knows how to mend us. God is the master gardener and the master grafter. He can take our gnarled, grizzly branches…cut them off and connect them with a better plant. No matter what has happened in your life there is hope. God is the source of that hope. He will straighten things out!

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. “

Psalm 1:1-3

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

Isaiah 42:1-4

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-3

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.”

Romans 11:17-21

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