This morning, out of habit, I pulled up my weather channel app. I like to know what the temperature is like (hot, always hot) where I am and what I should wear that day. Other than the typical SC weather (hot with 1000% chance of humidity), there are always videos–usually of whatever weather event has occurred in the past week or so. Given the current status of things, there have been a plethora of videos. Usually, I glance at them and then pull up the news app on my phone for real details. But today, this video caught my attention. A tree caught on fire, but from the inside out.
Now, I know this wildfire has been catastrophic from beginning to end and believe me, those affected have been in my prayers.
But this image of a tree burning from the inside out is hauntingly beautiful.
And an incredible picture the human soul.
Seriously. Check out Psalm 92: 12-15a:
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright;
When our soul is right with God, we are like planted trees that flourish; our roots run so deep that we can endure harsh conditions and still bear fruit.
But when we are not right with God, we become hollow inside. Dead. Rotting. Susceptible to fire and wind. All it takes is an ember and suddenly we are engulfed in flames. Burning from the inside out until we collapse as ash.
I don’t want to burn from the inside out.
I want to flourish and bear fruit. I want my roots to run deep.
This week I was told I needed to rest…or rather Rest. She said with a capital R. I am always trying to go, do, see–so active–that I have forgotten what it means to just…be. To be a tree, lifting to the heavens even as my roots drink in the beauty of the earth and all God provides for me. Don’t get me wrong, theologically I’ve always known God’s grace is a gift…but in my heart, deep down I have a hard time with the concept.
I don’t simply exist well.
Somewhere in my past, I equated love with action. Success with productivity. Acceptance with accomplishment.
But you can’t earn God’s love.
Honestly, I’m not sure you can earn man’s love either.
All you end up when you try is…empty, exhausted, and burnt out. From the inside out.
The psalmist knew this. He encourages us in 92:1 that
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High
Even as he is speaking he shifts from third to second person. From doing to just being with the LORD. From giving advice to taking advice. To simply praise and be grateful for all the LORD did because he loved us, not because we did something to earn it.
Not to simply DO worship, but to BE it, as my associate pastor at GraceLife Church (Brett) encouraged our youth recently.
To rest in the LORD.
To Rest in the LORD, with the LORD, and for the LORD. Action is important–but sometimes so is your state of being.