What I Learned from Our Sugar Maple Tree

We have this tree in our side yard that has given me so many great memories. Once, when a friend of my husband’s was visiting us one fall, we took some impromptu pictures of the kids under the tree and now every time I see those pictures, I think of that fun visit. It also houses several different types of bird feeders and I think they love the tree for its shade and sustenance even more than I appreciate the tree for its beauty. God even put that tree in one of my dreams, and used the dream to show me how much He loved and cared for me, taking our relationship to a whole new level.

While I love that tree, it just always has been in the background, a constant in our yard. Until this year. For some reason, as I’ve been talking about and sharing the last few weeks, this year I’m noticing, and appreciating, colors, smells, and things more vividly than usual. And this tree is no exception.

In late spring, as all the trees were beginning to bud and bloom out, I noticed this particular tree looked maroon. I wondered why for the past two decades I never noticed that when it’s beginning to bud, it forms the seeds first, which are more maroon in color, before the leaves bloom. I marveled at the beautiful richness of its color, anticipating yet again how breathtaking the colors will be in the fall. It felt like a sneak preview of what is to come!

Several weeks later, I went outside to grab the mail on a day that is projected to be in the 90s. I expected to be hit with an onslaught of heat, and instead was rewarded by a moderate breeze blowing that was keeping the temperature outside semi cool. And that’s when I noticed it.

As the breeze was blowing, the little seeds that had sprung the green leaves on this maple tree were floating off the tree, no longer needed as their work was done. They had seeded the tree with beautiful green leaves and now God, in His perfect wisdom, used the wind to prune the dead seeds off, giving the leaves more room to flourish.

Words escape me as I try to describe how majestic our Heavenly Father is. He is the God of details. He doesn’t just bless us with beautiful colors as we watch spring unfold and the earth come alive again after a restful winter (which is beautiful in itself, I might add). No, there is beauty as He is pruning away the parts of the tree no longer needed because they fulfilled their purpose, as well as beauty in the leaves left to do their job of providing shelter for birds, shade from the hot sun, and nourishment for insects. And come fall, there will be beauty found again in the next season of pruning as the leaves fall off, leaving the tree ready for the season of rest after working hard during the spring and summer.

If God is that detailed with a maple tree, think of how much more He can (and wants to) handle the details of our lives? Nothing is too hard for our God to handle. Remember, when He tells us not to worry, He gives us a history through His Word we can trust behind those words. And He gives us a visual through the maple tree to show us He has all the details covered. © Cheri Swalwell 2021

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