God in the tree branches
By Jessica Brodie
When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was climb trees. After school, I’d finish my homework and then walk outside, find a tree, scramble up, and just sit.
Sometimes I’d see my friends below, and I wouldn’t even say hi. I wasn’t eavesdropping or anything, but being up there in the branches made me feel like I had entered some sort of cocoon or fairyland. No one could see me, and I felt completely secure, hidden, protected, and sheltered. I knew nothing could harm me while I was nestled in those branches.
When I’d climb down, there was the usual preteen girl drama to deal with among my friends, plus battles with my little sister, chores to be done, and dinner to be made—all the stuff of earth, all my worries and my daily battles. But up in the tree I was elevated, literally and figuratively. Nothing could touch me there. None of the rules applied. I was set apart, safe.
That safety is what God’s words to the prophet Isaiah remind me of: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).
It wasn’t rational, that feeling of false security when I was in the trees all those years ago, but it was a comfort. To my girlish soul in those days, that’s all that mattered. But as the years pass, our childish concerns often get far darker. Instead of hiding from friendship struggles and household dynamics, we might be struggling with homelessness and poverty, with divorce and betrayal, with a terminal illness or a catastrophic loss. We need more than secret tree havens to comfort us. We need God in the tree branches.
The security God assures us through the prophet Isaiah, as well as throughout Scripture, is far more than a childish comfort. It is an outright promise, believable and true, and something we can count on no matter what.
So no matter what you’re going through, don’t forget: God is with you. He will strengthen and help you. He will uphold you.
And His arms are far bigger and stronger than any tree branch.