Ever since I was a little girl, I have considered myself a native of forests. Besides growing up in a house tucked inside the woods, I have always felt safe, always in my element, while trudging through trails surrounded by trees that tower over, sheltering me from the outside world. I never quite understood my fascination with trees; all that I know is there does not exist any other comfort in the world to me than being engulfed in never-ending woods while listening to the distant calls of birds. A tree, I suppose, has a history to it that passes all human experience. Trees patiently grow over hundreds of years and stand firm through calamities and disputes, making humans feel so insignificant in comparison. I often find myself staring in wonder at these fortresses, meditating on how they are one of God’s greatest creations in the world.
How fleeting, I then think to myself, for God to create us, with human bodies. If we were to be instruments of God, how can nature appear mightier than us, so flawed with emotion and desire? Where am I to retreat when I feel so distant from God, for I know the strong forest will not always be there for me. In Psalm 71, the Lord is described as a “rock of refuge, a strong fortress,” the tree rooted into the Earth.
In Him, we can find power and righteousness, so long as we “tell of [His] righteous acts.” A similar idea appears in Corinthians, that we can become “one united with the Lord” if we glorify Him in Body and Spirit. I do find it true, in helping the needy and fulfilling Jesus’ call to service, that I feel closer to God in more ways than one. He created my body, or the “roots” of the tree, the kingdom of God growing inside me, starting as a tiny mustard seed, growing so that I may find refuge in myself and for other birds, away from the world.
Even as I grow old with age, I take refuge in myself and know that God has created a mighty fortress that I can carry inside forever. I look for, daily, the strength inside me that the Lord has given, and find my soul flourishing as a tree from a mustard seed, becoming the never ending kingdom of God.