Lessons from the trees

On our recent holiday, Dean and I were dirt-biking in a dry, arid region of the interior of British Columbia. The barrenness of the hills exposes their wrinkles and irregularities. At first glance it is not an area that one would generally associate with vibrant life. Recent invasions of the mountain pine beetle have exacerbated the image of lifelessness by encompassing what forests there are with the dull red of death. It is a depressing image.

But our excursions into the less-travelled, less-noticed regions of the hill country brought new images to the fore. The seemingly barren hills were alive with sages and junipers, gently scenting the air with their musky fragrance. Hardy sedges and grasses transformed small pockets of water into little oases for the cattle that roamed at large. Even the rocks supported the tenacious life of lichens and mosses. Everywhere we looked the image of death was supplanted by evidence of life.

But the most striking image of all is forever burned into my memory. We emerged from a forested section of trail into a modest meadow. Lining one edge of the meadow was a small grove of shimmering green aspens. Life. Immediately behind the aspens stood several stately ponderosa pines, all fully intact and beautifully formed, but completely red. Death.

The stark contrast of colour, of life and death reminded me of Deuteronomy 30:19 “… I have set before you life and death…Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…”

In a world that continually seeks immortality through the mechanisms of self-destruction, may we, by God’s grace, choose life. May His life in us be a stark contrast to the death and destruction of sin. Choose life…

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