Learning to be

(Photo: Unsplash/Christopher Sardegna)

In my last article, I talked about my recent visit to "Redwood Forest" near Warburton, just outside of Melbourne. The Redwood Tree Forest is reminiscent of where these giants originate in Redwood, California. With 1500 Redwoods measuring up to 55 metres tall, it truly is a breath-taking sight for anyone who has visited.

These trees teach us lots of lessons, I wrote about the interconnected root system network that trees have, and especially Redwoods. These trees stand over 55metres tall, yet have a root system barely 2 metres deep. The strength of these trees is in each other. They don't have the ability to withstand winds and storms on a 2m deep root system, but intertwined together these trees are incredibly strong.

The network of root systems plays a part in helping all trees grow. Trees are said to share resources and 'communicate' with one another through these root systems. Older, established trees sharing resources with saplings and helping them grow, especially during times of disease or infancy where canopies may block needed nutrients from the sunlight.

They are slow growing at first, but once a root system is established, Redwood trees are quick to take off. This should be like our spiritual walk, establishing root systems, that then allow us to grow up tall and strong. This takes time and does need us to rely on others around us. Those who are established in faith, need to be willing to share resources to new believers, helping them establish their root systems and provide nutrients, wisdom, and teaching that might not be accessible to them yet. Following on from this, trees have lot of teach us. Including how to 'be'.

Just 'be'.

Matthew 6:25-31 is often quoted about learning 'not to worry'. Jesus describes "Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?"

Being immersed amongst the trees of Redwood Forest I was in awe of their stature and spent the day relaxing amongst their shade, down by the river and relaxing and reflecting in nature.

The draw of these trees isn't what they 'do'. They certainly don't provide amusement or entertainment like a theme park, yet numbers of people visit the area regularly.

The trees just 'are'. They know their role; they are connected with one another. They are living out the purpose God created them. How often do we compare ourselves to others in our worlds or on our social media streams without taking the time to just 'be'.

To 'be' for some may seem scary, the idea of being still long enough to hear your own thoughts, to face your true self. For Mother Theresa, this was where she heard God speak.

Sitting in Silence

"In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you... ... I shall keep the silence of my heart with greater care, so that in the silence of my heart I hear His words of comfort, and from the fullness of my heart I comfort Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor."Mother Theresa.

Mother Theresa spent time with God, He became her strength, which enabled her to utterly change the world in her outreach to the poor in Calcutta, India.

God constantly asks us to seek Him in his word. The Psalmist, King David found strength in waiting on God (Psalm 69). In our busy bustling lives I believe we need to learn from the Redwood trees and simply 'be' as they are. The artist Michael Leunig describes this so well in his cartoon 'A Herbal Remedy for Lifeache'.

After reading this, may you be encouraged to go find a tree, and for an extended period of time contemplate it and just 'be'. Listen to God and as Mother Theresa did, sit in the silence of your heart to hear from him.