Week of August 13
A Tale of Two Trees
by Max Lucado
Formless masses. Floating. Disconnected.
Divine artist. Earthly dream.
Light! Sun rays piercing through jungle trees. Sunsets volcanic with explosions of gold. Soft sheets of moonlight soothing a weary ocean.
Beings! Snorting. Flying. Splashing. Bleating. Gnawing. Clawing. Digging.
Sound! Horse's hoof beats. Cawing crows. Hyena laughter. Cannoning thunder. Chirping chicks. Rat-tat-tatting rain.
Then silence … as an unseen Sculptor molds mud and dust. Lions motionlessly watching. Sparrows perched, peering downward. Clouds hovering. Inquisitive kangaroos. Curious caribou. Snooping centipedes.
"What's he making?"
Giraffes peeking through leaves. Squirrels chattering gossip. Pausing. Wondering. Gibbering.
A sudden breeze, surprisingly warm, whistles through the leaves scattering dust from the lifeless form. And with the breath of fresh air comes the difference. Winging on the warm wind is his image. Laughter is laid in the sculpted cheeks. A reservoir of tears is stored in the soul. A sprinkling of twinkle for the eyes. Poetry for the spirit. Logic. Loyalty. Like leaves on an autumn breeze, they float and land and are absorbed. His gifts become a part of him.
His Majesty smiles at his image. "It is good."
The eyes open.
Oneness. Creator and created walking on the river bank. Laughter. Purity. Innocent joy. Life unending.
Then the tree.
The struggle. The snake. The lie. The enticement. Heart torn, lured. Soul drawn to pleasure, to independence, to importance. Inner agony. Whose will?
The choice. Death of innocence. Entrance of death. The fall.
Tear stains mingling with fruit-stains.
"Abram, you will father a nation! And Abram—tell the people I love them."
"Moses, you will deliver my people! And Moses—tell the people I love them."
"Joshua, you will lead the chosen ones! And Joshua—tell the people I love them."
"David, you will reign over the people! And David—tell the people I love them."
"Jeremiah, you will bear tidings of bondage! But Jeremiah, remind my children, remind my children that I love them."
Altars. Sacrifices. Rebelling. Returning. Reacting. Repenting. Romance. Tablets. Judges. Pillars. Bloodshed. Wars. Kings. Giants. Law. Hezekiah. Nehemiah. Hosea. … God watching, never turning, ever loving, ever yearning for the Garden again.
Empty throne. Spirit descending. Hushed angels.
A girl …
a womb …
The same Divine Artist again forms a body. This time his own. Fleshly divinity. Skin layered on spirit. Omnipotence with hair. Toenails. Knuckles. Molars. Kneecaps. Once again he walks with man. Yet the Garden is now thorny. Thorns that cut, thorns that poison, thorns that remain lodged, leaving bitter wounds. Disharmony. Sickness. Betrayal. Fear. Guilt.
The lions no longer pause. The clouds no longer
hover. The birds scatter too quickly. Disharmony. Competition. Blindness.
And once again, a tree.
Once again the struggle. The snake. The enticement. Heart torn, lured. Once again the question, "Whose will?"
Then the choice. Tear stains mingle with bloodstains. Relationship restored. Bridge erected.
For just as death came by means of a man, in the same way the rising from death comes by means of a man. For just as all men die because of their union to Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union to Christ. (I Corinthians 15:21-22)
From God Came Near: Chronicles of the Christ
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado