There is a tree on the side of our home. The other day I looked out my bedroom window to see a very large portion of the bark had been removed and was strewn all over the ground below. It looked like a bear had climbed the tree and clawed the bark off.
My initial thought was some mysterious beetle had invaded the neighborhood. You know, the kind that you hear about every so often on the news. My mind went into a slight panic.
Oh no. They will take over and systematically take trees one at a time. The neighborhood will have to go into a quarantine. The neighbors will hate us and throw eggs at our house at night for allowing us to host these beetles if we don’t do something now!
I was distressed. The tree looks naked and uncomfortable with all it’s “clothing” laying on the ground below. It was just sitting there, exposed. I found myself feeling sad for the tree and wondering what I was supposed to do.
There are things in life that come and rip off our “bark”.
Exposing our inner self, making us sad and confused.
I’ve heard it said that when we undergo difficult situations or feel as if we are being tested, our true character is revealed. If we host anger, bitterness, fear, anxiety, jealousy, doubt, selfishness or negativity, these traits come out front and center when we are under pressure.
Difficulty in our lives exposes our inner self in all its’ imperfection. Like a gold refinery, the impurities come to the surface to be removed under the intense heat. Without the heat the flaws go undetected and we are left only a fraction of who we could be.
- Perhaps the difficulty is a gift from the Master?
- Perhaps it is more than just a rough patch?
- Perhaps there is an invitation to become someone new, someone refreshed, someone better than who you are now?
- Perhaps the problem you are in gives as much as it takes?
Talking to my husband later in the day I discovered that he had seen a rather large wood pecker going to town on the tree the previous day. It had to remove the bark to get to what he was looking for. The tree did not have a deadly disease. There were no beetles forging a hostile take over. The neighbors wouldn’t be egging my house.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Although the tree is getting beat up, new bark would grow, stronger bark, healthier bark.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:25-26 (NIV)