Rise Up!

The calendar says Spring is here! Time for the trees to bloom and the temperatures to begin to hit the seventies here in the Mid-Atlantic. Wait! Did we just have snow? Really? I guess it is true the actual weather sometimes must catch up to the calendar!

When it snowed earlier this week, I was a bit disappointed that Winter was trying its best to hold on. Nevertheless, I knew God’s word would always be true:

“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” - Genesis 8:22

Therefore, since I had my fill of Winter, Summer had to be on its way!

As the snow began to taper off earlier this week, I did what all great family men do. I asked my sons to go out and clear the driveway! After about thirty minutes, they came in to tell me there was a problem. When I went outside, I saw what they were talking about. A tall pine tree, about thirty-five to forty feet tall, snapped in half. Not only did it snap, it fell across our driveway. My first thought was, “I actually have to stay outside and help! That’s not what I had in mind”.

Initially we thought we would have to cut it with a chain saw to move it, but the Lord gave us a better idea. The three of us could push it out of the way! After examining the tree, we realized we could move a section of the tree a few inches at a time. It took a great deal of effort but within 15 minutes or so, we had the tree moved to the side of the driveway. At that point, I thought the task was accomplished but one of my sons showed me another problem. You see, the other trees along the driveway were so heavy with snow that all their limbs were bent over blocking the end of our driveway. The trees on the left covered the driveway to about the center and the trees on the right covered the other half.

Once again, I thought I was going to need a chain saw to cut these otherwise healthy trees. As I walked closer to inspect the situation, I heard the Lord tell me not to cut them but to shake them. Of course, my first thought was, “shake what?” As I paused for a moment, He impressed upon me to shake the branches. At this point, I knew the inconvenience of coming out in the snow was really intended to be a teaching moment.

So, I walked to the first tree, grabbed one of the bowed branches and shook it. Do you know what happened? As I shook the heavy snow off the branch, it began to rise! I repeated the action on the other branches and right before my eyes, the branches rose! I thought to myself, “I got it!” You should have seen me going from tree to tree shaking the branches vigorously and watching them rise.

After all the fun and games in the cold, the Lord shared something with me. He showed me that is the problem with many people today. They are weighed down by sin. At first, it is bearable but eventually it weighs them down. Every sin is like a new, wet and heavy flake of snow that adds more weight. So rather than standing tall, they are bent over from the weight of sin. Some have gotten to the breaking point like the tree that snapped. Others are bent over from the weight and are close to breaking. Then He said, “By you shaking off the heavy snow, you removed the burden just like I did on the Cross. Those who receive Me will rise up. They are free to stand tall”.

During this Easter/Resurrection season, let us remember and celebrate what Jesus did for us on the Cross and Stand Tall!

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