Directly outside our second-floor apartment is a luscious tree. It’s a squat little thing, but when given time the branches grown thick and long and overflow with smooth dark leaves. Time was certainly allotted to our dear verdant friend this past season (or two) as the apartment owners did not schedule the usual pruning. Our tree grew wildly until the branches extended many feet in each direction. It welcomed us when we left the apartment, shaded the playground below, and darkened our bedroom at night. It was a glorious puff of green to behold. A squirrel family made itself at home in the privacy of the overgrowth. In the spring a hummingbird knitted together a minuscule nest on a lower branch. Each morning the birds who found rest in the tree would awake us with their obnoxious squawking.
Six weeks ago we came home to a naked tree. It had been pruned while we were out and the lush friend we left in the morning was now blushing with starkness. We gasped in horror at the ugliness of it – basically a trunk with a few branches of green leaves sticking out. The children fretted over the mournful hummingbird mother who flitted about for her missing nest. The squirrels asked with little cocked heads where their safe place had disappeared to. The flock of birds swept around the tree for an hour before finally leaving to find a new place of shelter.
It was a pathetic sight to behold.
This past week my head swirled with prayers for our beloved church and thoughts too human to voice were caught captive. And one day my board-leafed friend waved a greeting to me as I, tired and excited all at the same time, approached my home. I stopped in surprise as The Lord pointed out the few branches that were mercifully left after the pruning. They were absolutely bursting with new life! The leaves that were left are still that dark green color, possibly holding it together to support the new growth, which I must say is nearly overpowering them. I fingered the baby leaves, this new growth made possibly through the pruning, the concentrated effort to preserve the tree’s growth.
And I rejoiced.
Our lush friend who shaded in summer and protected in darkness will be back in time. All in good time… for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to Him, “What have you done?”