The Rings of a Tree :: by Don Twobears

Yesterday was such a beautiful day here in Southern Texas, and I was sitting under my Gazebo enjoying the fantastic weather. It was almost 67 degrees and a slight breeze was blowing from the west; the air was dry and soothing, especially after our latest rainfall. I was thinking to myself,  just how important it is to enjoy the blessings we receive from the Lord and that we should always give Him the Thanks that He is due.

My Grandson came out and sat with me for a little while. He began telling me how he tries and present a smile and exude happiness, no matter the situation. That got me to thinking as we talked and I told him that as long as he would be alive, he needed to always remember to be truthful to himself and to others.

At first he sort of sat there and looked at me. I must guess he was questioning in his mind, Is Papa doing the “Indian thing” again? (Sort of seeing this life we live according to the “old ways” or just making comments along the lines of the present discussion?)

I told him that this life is full of changes and more often than not change is uncomfortable for people, and that keeping a smile and a happy heart is like suave on a wound for others; that it is truly a gift to do so. He sat there and smiled, knowing his Papa was proud of him and loved him.

Time heals all wounds, but it always leaves scars to remind us of what is important and what is not. We see the trees and every fall they lose their leaves, storms take place and sometimes the trunk is damaged. These events are always recorded in the rings of a tree. The rings become a story about life.

Sometimes the rings show good growth, plenty of water and nutrients and at other times, there is damage or drought. This is the way the tree tells of its life, it trials, tribulations and of the good times and our lives can be seen in the same way. This is one of the fantastic things with woodworking, not only do I enjoy the work and the smell, I get a story as well. Life is precious to all!” I believe my grandson sat there and smiled because of the “old wisdom” from and old Indian—who just happens to be his Papa.

The truth of the matter is this: God allows trials and tribulations, just like a tree to teach us how to grow and prosper. I find it odd, that people by-in-large never consider the simple things, like the rings of a tree. They never stop to look and see what all is really going on in their lives, they run as fast as they can from the things that were difficult and unsightly to them.

People run to what is most comfortable and easy.

They never consider their own footprints when they were carrying a burden, when they would lose their balance and fall. They never want to learn from their own past mistakes and then they wonder why their lives now are a mess. A baby learns to walk through many falls, sometimes those falls hurt—a good reason not to fall down any longer.

I remember my dad would sometimes say something that sounded so silly, I would laugh at him. Truth be known, he wasn’t laughing when he said it. I would tell him about a situation where I had hurt myself and he would look at me and say, “Well…don’t do that anymore.” Obviously, he was giving me wisdom and sometimes wisdom is best in short sentences of great truth. We can find this in the Word of God as well.

Isaiah 1:2-8: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken anymore?

Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.”

Do you ever get the feeling that we never pay any attention to what we are doing? Sort of like wandering about doing what we THINK is best, only to find out a little later, there was a better way? Or  that we should have been thinking in different areas all together? Like a deer from a fire, we run from our mistakes, our failures and whatever makes us feel uncomfortable. Hitting your thumb with a hammer is a good lesson in how to aim, right? What do we do? We don’t pay any more attention or we stand there and throw the hammer down and curse it. We then pick that hammer back up and swing again, hitting our thumb again! Israel was the same way, according to the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 1:10-19: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.”

The Lord God Almighty tells us where we fail Him and ourselves and what is actually wrong. Then HE tells us how to fix the problem and what the end result will be. It is to point out that God never fails, never makes a mistake, that it is you and me who are fallen; we make the mistakes, we hurtourselves. Our trials and tribulations are in our lives to teach us to listen to HIM and learn how we must live and who is truly in charge.

What most people never understand is that life is to be lived according to the perfect will of the Father in heaven, NOT according to what we think. How can I prove this? Look all around and ask if everything is in good shape. Are people doing what is best? I am sure you will agree, life in this world is pretty bad. It will never get any better until Jesus Christ returns and changes everything!

Here’s a bit to think on: Life, for us is just like that of a tree. We don’t have to do anything to get ourselves in trouble, all we have to do is be there. The simple act of “being” is enough for us to experience trials and tribulations, but that doesn’t mean we have to run from them. Like hitting your thumb with the hammer, sometimes if we simply stop and consider what all is going on, we may find we are tired, or maybe need glasses, or even need to remove a hand from the area. The lesson has always been right there in front of you; if you look at what happened and don’t repeat it. As my dad said, “Well…don’t do that anymore.”

There is never any better way to have solve a problem than to step back and consider everything, Check the tech manual—the Bible and move on with the program at hand. If we are to live and use wisdom to guide us, we need a great teacher and God is that one and only BEST Teacher. After all, it’s HIS universe….we simply live in it!