I love trees for many reasons. I think they’re beautiful in the fall—as many people do, and I have loved birch trees and sycamore trees since I was a child—they are the ones that grow in or near water and have the white bark. I love to see the shapes trees take, the elegance of their limbs, and in my current landscape—on a ridge in Missouri farmland, I am always fascinated when I see a field or pasture, with one lone, beautiful trees in it. My trees, I suppose are another woman’s flowers—you just can’t put trees in a vase on your table.
There are also many amazing pictures of trees in scripture. And, that is why I connect with them so deeply. I am going to share some of those scriptures with you today and then, I am going to share about what trees have to do with hope deferred. I am hoping that’s a term you have heard before, and we will get to that at the end. So, right of the bat, Psalm 1 tells us about the person who delights in the law of the Lord and who meditates on it day and night and states, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
There is a very similar picture painted in Jeremiah 17:7-8: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
When we delight in the Lord’s Word and meditate on it and put our trust in him (and make that way of life our practice—meaning, you can’t just do it once) we become like a tree that never fails to bear fruit that has no worries that prospers in everything. What a beautiful picture of promise.
And, a short one from Psalm 52: 8 This psalm is about the man who did not trust in God and the destruction that comes as a result, and then the psalmist says in verse 8, “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”
The most important reason that trees are important to me and feature in my logo and on my website has to do with a verse from Proverbs. You are probably very familiar with the first part of the verse: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” When I was in my college years and early twenties, I heard a lot of women recite that verse as the reason for why they were down or depressed-deferred hope. For a long time, I didn’t know there was more to it, but one day in my quiet time with the Lord, I came upon the rest of the verse: “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” So, the full verse is “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
What are the longings of your heart? The desires God has put there? Maybe there is a creative dream you are holding onto or a career goal or a place you deeply want to travel go—I don’t know. There are so many possibilities, but you know the longings of your heart, and God knows. When a longing is fulfilled, according to proverbs that is a tree of life. Who doesn’t want to see their longings fulfilled and be a tree of life? I say be because the Word does not say that a longing fulfilled is LIKE a tree of live, but that a longing fulfilled IS a tree of life. To me, that says there is power in seeing our longings fulfilled. Those trees I love are pictures of that. They’re reminders to me. Let’s take this though process one step further. Let’s say the longing in your heart is to create a bakery/café that specializes in beautiful, healthy salads and sandwiches, and made-from-scratch desserts. Now, imagine that longing fulfilled. Your longing—that amazing bakery/café you created is now a tree of life. Just imagine! Don’t discount your dreams, your longings, the desires God has put in your heart. It is time to get those out and examine them.