Thursday, June 10, 2010

When You Can't See the Tree for the Forest

So there's this giant tree in my parent's backyard. In years gone by, its strong limbs held a swing where my boys and their cousins spent hours playing. It towers above the yard and has been there for who-knows-how-long.

But my Dad told me something about it recently that surprised me. "It's dead." "What? Really?" "Yep. See? It doesn't have any leaves at all. In fact, don't let the kids play under it. The limbs have started falling off. It could be dangerous."

I had looked at it many, many times throughout the winter and never noticed anything wrong. All of the trees were barren at that time of year. It blended right in. But now that the trees behind it are in full bloom, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Its lack of life is painfully apparent. It can't hide. I wonder if its uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.

I'm pondering this tree-predicament because we are searching for a new church home. After moving recently, we are ready to find a fellowship of believers of like faith and share our lives with them. But the search is a little tiring.

It would be easy for us to choose one of the hundreds of churches in our new location and become back row pew sitters, showing up for service and going home. We could get dressed up, put our boys in their respective classes, smile, and check the box beside "attended church" for the week.

But my spirit rages against that type of existence! I don't want to become a dead tree, perfectly at home in a winter forest. I desire for my life to be vibrant, alive in Christ, and surrounded by believers who challenge and encourage me.

And I don't want my little "sprouts" to grow up thinking that Christianity is lifeless. So our search continues. That old, dead tree reminds me once again that "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me." And I've never felt more alive.

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