Outside a window of my home a red oak tree proudly stands.
Until moving to the Texas hill country, I guess I thought an oak an oak.
God delights, I've decided, in revealing to me in countless ways that His creation is far more splendid than eye can see or tongue can tell.
He is! And since His creation stems from an outflow and expression of His love for man, why would I expect it to be otherwise.
I've been blessed with that tree. People have been known to stop in the middle of the road marveling at its beauty.
Admittedly, last year I was upset and frustrated to discover one day upon returning home from work that city workers responsible for pruning trees virtually decimated my oak. Though it stood fully on my property, they'd hacked away at it in the most illogical manner. In the end, adding insult to injury, the oak now stood lopsided, peg-legged handicapped when it came to the realm of living as an oak.
Grace poured upon that oak this summer with the plenitude of rain. Soon the disfigured tree stood proudly again, decked out in a spectacular garment of green disguising its disfigurement month after month.
However, while the temperatures stayed warm well into the fall, the rain left, and the expected October showers remained a stranger to the hill country. Now, days away from winter, what normally becomes a scarlet cloak gracing the oak simply took on the guise of a peasant-brown death, with leaf after leaf poured out its life.
I was disappointed.
Last night, unexpectedly, the mercury dipped into the 20's, and when I passed that oak this morning, deep almost purple reds graced branch after branch.
Seeing the transformation, songs of gratitude filled my heart and have kept me singing most of the day.
Isn't it interesting the forms and packaging that God's blessings take as they fall upon our lives?
A scarlet cloak absent yesterday, but unexpectedly present today, vividly reminds me that God remains in the restoration business. Even when we're unaware of it.
He's all about changed lives.
He's all about lives changed by a scarlet mantle draped across the deadness of our sins. A mantle borne first by a tree so hacked and disfigured that it no longer resembled the beauty of its Creator's touch.
Instead, refashioned by man's death-touch and transformed by that touch, the tree became an instrument of the same.
Until it tasted the scarlet flow streaming from the Lamb it now held upon death's mount, lifted up that all might see His cascading blood ... shed for me.
That was the message my red oak held out to me this morning.
I wrapped myself tightly in it, filled with a longing to never forget Scarlet's writ even when born upon the branches of a tree.
For it is a love message written in a Father's heart, born upon the Lamb's brow that our lives might be woven into an eternal mantle white as snow.
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DeAnna Brooks (December 5, 2007)
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.