The tree in this picture has accepted the bolt for the chain to close the gate. Maybe it hurt when the bolts were first hammered in – maybe the tree bled some sap – who knows.
But the tree didn’t give up and die because of its mistreatment it got on with the job of growing over its wound; beautifying the offending things, making the bolt and chain part of it.
How forgiving is that?
What a pity we humans are not like the tree, absorbing the hurts and then encompassing them and covering them with our own beauty of spirit so that the hurts are made beautiful. That’s forgiveness!
We could also look at it as if the tree was the Lord and we were the bolts and chain. We were hammered into the flesh of Jesus when he was nailed to the cross. His body accepted the wounds of our sin and sickness, and he encompassed us into himself and made us one with himself. We became a thing of beauty because he covered us over, hiding us within himself.
What extra–ordinary love!
HEALTHY AND WHOLE
Society almost seems obsessed with cleanliness. We are urged to wash our hands before eating, after gardening and playing with pets, and after visiting the bathroom.
Sir Joseph Lister, 1883 – 1897 a British surgeon, pioneered the use of antiseptic surgery. He successfully introduced the use of carbolic acid or phenol to sterilise surgical instruments making surgery and childbirth safer for patients. Today child bed fever as it was commonly known is hardly heard of due to the practice of cleanliness.
Covid-19 has made us wash our hands even more and practise cleanliness to the point of paranoia, but cleanliness has curbed the spread of the virus.
We have come a long way with our cleansers these days. But it seems the bugs too have morphed into super bugs calling for ever stronger cleansers. With all this preoccupation with our physical cleanliness have we given a thought to what goes on with the inner person? Is there a need to worry about the inner person? And how does one cleanse the inner person?
Yes, there is a need to cleanse the inner person to be whole and healthy. We just need to listen to all the murders for one thing. The remedy is a new heart and new mind. This is called holistic living When the need for a new makeover is recognised and personal efforts fail, embrace Jesus Christ. Accept his goodness as your own, swap your life for his life. Wouldn’t that be a small price to pay to be clean on the inside as well as the outside, and be able to live a great life?
IF THERE IS A GOD WHY SO MUCH SUFFERING?
PAM SALTER SAYS… a good question. One I have asked myself. I don’t say if there is a God I say I know there is a God. I don’t blame all the suffering on him. We have brought a lot of the suffering on ourselves by our own actions and choices, pollution, and wrong living. Sickness is one of the outcomes of our actions. I had a son with severe multiple disabilities and if anyone could question why this could be so it would be me. But I don’t blame anyone, least of all God. The genetic material that God placed in us has become corrupted by the action of Adam and Eve. It is not God’s will for us to be born into this world like this. God can overcome all. He is our saviour, our healer, the one to trust in all things.
RYAN DAVIS SAYS… I believe God created the heavens and the earth and put Adam and Eve in the Garden in relationship with him. Everything in the garden was as it was meant to be. But then Adam and Eve fell out with God and that meant the devil then had room to wreck havoc on earth the consequences being suffering. It meant there was sickness and broken relationships. God has sent Jesus into the world to heal relationship with himself and others so things can change and suffering be eliminated.
‘God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self control.’ 2 Timothy 1: 7
(An excerpt from the book, MAVERICK’S ROUNDUP)
NEW GIRL ON THE BLOCK
Girls, well, I had a couple of mild crushes on girls in the Christian Endeavour group. They did not last long living miles out of town with only a pushbike for transport across a mountain range was obstacle enough to kill off any budding romance. Dad was directional in trying to pair me up with suitable local girls.
‘Now, she is a pretty girl, Bruce,’ he would say, trying to direct my eyes toward certain girls in the district that he considered were pretty and would make a suitable wife.
‘She’s OK, I suppose,’ I would answer noncommittally.
‘You could do worse with that girl, Bruce. She’s smart and a hard worker.’ Dad would try to organise a meeting,
‘She doesn’t appeal to me.’ I would hedge, wishing Dad would let me choose my wife, myself. The annual Sunday school picnic arrived and it was always a lot of fun. If Dad was involved, the competitions and skylarking seemed to go on all day. This picnic was to be different. My lonely years were to end. We young men grouped ourselves at the gate of the paddock used as a picnic ground on the pretext of directing picnic goers to the right spot under a big gum tree. We were fooling around telling tall stories as lads do, when along came a young chick. She was a new comer to the district, living down Nangkita.
‘Wow! Wonder who she is?”
‘Oh, I heard Hector Brown’s sister-in-law’s come to live with him and his wife.’
‘What does she do?’
‘I was told she works on the dairy.’
‘Where’d she come from?’
‘Hey! Hands off her, you guys, this one’s mine,’ I butted in on the conversation so emphatically that the other boys fell silent with surprise continuing to watch the girl on the bike as she rode over to where the rest of the picnickers were gathered under a huge gum tree in the middle of the paddock. At this moment my world went into a tailspin, I had made the truest prophecy in my life. It took about six months before the new girl at the picnic, is the typist, advisor, terrific friend, wife, and partner in this story. Getting back to the picnic, I was smitten, but Gwen did not even see me that day and besides
I was very girl shy and ignorant in how to court a girl. Courting Gwen was from afar. We met at Christian Endeavour on Tuesday nights. Gwen would ride her bike several miles from Nangkita to Mount Compass, sometimes getting a ride with other members of the group that lived along the valley. I rode eight miles on a bike from the opposite direction, until Peter learnt to drive the family car. Our meetings alone were a brief few minutes after the meeting was over in a secluded spot.
‘Come on, it is time to go home,’ Peter would yell, and we would part for another week. Peter saying goodnight to his beloved interrupted our journey home; Clare would get thoroughly bored sitting in the car waiting for her two brothers to say goodnight to their girlfriends. The family, as usual, did not have a clue that some girl had stolen my heart until at a social gathering in the local hall. Mum was sitting beside a Mrs Brown, curious about the new girl on the block, she asked,
‘Who is that girl asking my son to team up with her in a ‘Women’s Choice game?’
‘Oh, that’s my sister. She’s living with me and working for my husband on the dairy.’ My cover was blown but I still did not ‘tell all’ to my family. I kept my romance close to my chest for as long as I could. My thinking was that it was my business and no one else’s. Mum, though, did not agree and would not be put off.
‘When are you going to bring Gwen home?’
‘OK, OK, Mum, don’t push me.’