That leaning tree is not my tree. It’s on my neighbor’s land just a few feet over my property line. At least 20 feet of this once magnificent tree’s trunk is hollowed out by decay. It is dying. Its branches are all gone except for a single healthy branch that rises to the height of contiguous trees. In the spring, I expect to see new leaves on it.
But I am concerned what will happen next. Sooner or later a storm will bring this tree crashing down and damage my healthy trees on its way to the ground.
Can we draw an analogy of this tree to our human affairs and our soul? I think so. Outward appearances may suggest that we flourish. But no one sees or knows our soul, which may be either healthy, semi-healthy, or rotten to the core like my neighbor’s tree. Only God and some intuitive people know the true condition of our souls. Riches and glitz cannot save us from the inevitable destructive storm that will end our lives and those that will be impacted as this once magnificent tree crushes them in its downward fall.
In life as in nature, most trees never change their location. Some are transplanted. But most trees and people live under conditions beyond their control. Let me list a few helpless and often hopeless conditions people endure such as:
- Power politics
- Corruption in governments, businesses, the economy, religious institutions
- Predators and their chain of blaming and misleading accusations
- False imprisonment
- Human trafficking and
Maybe someday my neighbor will cut down this rotten tree. Similarly, powers may rise up to protect the innocent. Maybe the dawn of a new day has arrived now that some predators are being identified and punished. Yet the world overflows with vulnerable and helpless people living in dangerous situations.
Under these circumstances, the best course of action is to let God live in our heart. Understand that God is not Santa Claus at our beck and call and that some of us must suffer to survive. We need to confront and strive to overcome our daily challenges with wisdom, courage, and energy. We are called to do God’s work and not to think only of self. At life’s end, we will rest either in God’s presence or apart from God.