Trees in a Forest
by Michelle Amirault
You have heard the expression "You can't see the forest for the trees." Have you ever really meditated deeply on this expression? I thought I understood the meaning of this expression, but I never saw it as clearly as I am about to attempt to share.
Recently, while driving down a lovely, windy, hilly, country road, I was caught up in the awesome majesty of the Lord while beholding the mountainous views of greenery that are formed by the simple beauty of the forests. Because of the way the light hit the forests and the rolling lushness of their fullness collectively, a magnificent glory filled my vision as I ascended to each of the hilltops, both in the natural and in the Spirit. Many of you probably have had this same type of experience from time to time, while you were driving somewhere in the country.
As the road descended, however, I saw more clearly that the individual trees making up these gorgeous forests were, to my surprise, often greatly disfigured in appearance. Some were gnarled and or twisted, some half green and half dead looking. Some had hardly any leaves, while others had plenty; some were dwarfed and some were tall, but sparse. There was also what appeared to be a lot of dead bark. But individually, -- be they thin, thick, tall or twisted, -- they all reached up toward the sunlight the best they could so that they might have life, and I'm sure their roots went as deep as they were able.
It was clear to me for the first time, how symbolic each of those trees is to the body of Christ. We are a motley crew of people who in our attempts to seek the Son, (like the trees attempting to seek the sun,) are not necessarily beautiful or even balanced looking. Individually, we are far from the perfection of the Tree of Life. Yet corporately, we are able to appear as a mountain of life and beauty to the praise and glory of our God. This is amazing to me, yet God has so ordained it. He sees us with eyes of love and the covering of the righteousness of Jesus. I've often been discouraged because I could see how far each of us had to go to be anything like the majesty of Jesus, yet I long to see Him in each of us as the Father does. But I sense He is awakening me to see Him in a new way in the corporate body. This is a very new thing for me, as we were separated for so long so we would learn to drink from Him alone, rather than participate in, or depend on, any corporate communities for our growth in Him.
So although we must seek Him one on One and each develop our own root system to get our water individually, we still represent One Body...Christ's! It is possible to forget this in our independent groping for the Wellspring of His Life.
Unfortunately, or sadly to me, most of the world also sees the conditions of each of us --our far from powerful or perfected lives, our multitude of dividing doctrines, our hardened hearts, the hypocrisies of our words and actions, and our great lack of compassion. Over all the earth, except for a few who seem evergreen, we appear barren. Many in the world see us corporately as foolish and narrow-minded, old-fashioned and hypocritical. As I allowed my mind to dwell in this vein of thinking, my spiritual high place also descended, for I know how far we corporately must grow in Christ before the world can see an accurate picture of His true nature. Looking at us individually or corporately, I cried out to God as I sensed the hopelessness of my being able to see the fullness of our oneness in Christ coming in my physical life on this earth. I would really love to see us as one magnificent forest of abundant Life bringing the world to glory in the One True God.
Then I felt reminded that in the sovereignty and plan of God, there are seasons for everything. Part of the marvel of the gorgeous green forest is that it is not always like that. It too has a time for "sleeping," if you will. During this time the forest is not a thing of beauty. In fact, it appears barren in most places. The leaves of all, but the evergreens, are non-existent, for they have fallen to the ground to be "reformed." Interestingly, by their "transforming" the dead leaves actually get blended into the earth to form, with the other dead life, necessary nutrients that later give life to the trees, which in their proper season, again bud forth with new life! This "natural" cycle of life from death is a very spiritual principal. It is a type or constant reminder of our spiritual resurrection from death, (both the new birth of our awakened spirits and the promise of our resurrection after our physical passing away.) Every human I know, awakened or not, seems to love the season of Spring. Who can resist the joy of the beauty and fragrance of the miraculous "springing forth" of new life?! So shall it be when the corporate Body of Christ is transformed and comes forth in the glory and power and perfection of the Christ within. As our lives each get changed from within by the healing counsel and love of the Holy Spirit's nurturing and cleansing, and we are able to let our old life die, we become like the new life of a Tree of Righteousness, able to help others with wise counsel, healing and unconditional love. For both His seed and His resurrection power are working within our "dead earth" to bring forth our new leaves which are for the healing of the nations!
Leaves have many purposes beyond giving fullness of beauty to the trees. Leaves continue the process of life to humans by what they give off. Think about that. They also provide shelter for many. Many trees also produce fruit to feed the hungry; this should be seen both in the natural and spiritually. When by His Hand our season comes to blossom, this is what the world will see as they behold the glory of the Lord. The fruit and leaves or greenery of OUR RESURRECTED LIVES IN AND BY CHRIST JESUS WILL SPRING FORTH FOR ALL MEN TO SEE and receive with joy. So REJOICE! Our Spring is coming in its season. God is awakening His people of this "season" from their slumber.
It's time to see the bigger picture. Looking now as a soaring eagle, high and lifted up by the wind of His Spirit, above the mountains in our lives, it's time to see the forest. . . the big picture if you will, the corporate Body of Christ. . . from God's eyes of love and mercy. As those of us who are called to reach toward the body do so, we will bring healing in our wings! Then as the "trees" restored, the Sons of God, who have died to allowing their old nature to rule in them and been spiritually resurrected in the Christ nature, will be like bridges from Christ to those still in the corporate body of believers who are called to join the Sons for the restoring of the nations. Then the world will begin to be able to see the majesty of the glory of the "forest" of God's people come to life by His hand in us, for our hands will be as those of Jesus Himself.
Just as the high priest first was cleansed, then ministered to God, and then went to the people of God, we too, seeing this pattern from God, must first be cleansed, then having gone to God one on One, go forth to the people He gives us, (even if some of them are in the church systems and others are in the highways and byways.) Go forth flowing from His mercy seat. Then these people will see as their eyes are cleansed by the purity of the Holy Spirit's fire, the High-Priests of God, which are the Christ in us, the Hope of Glory even for all the people of all the nations! So shall it be in His time!