Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tree by the River

Imagine a tree planted firmly alongside a rough, raging river. Next, imagine standing alongside the tree. There, to your shock, you look down and see a person in distress - caught in the turbulent water, holding on to a piece of their broken raft which is lodged in useen rocks below the surface.

What do you do? How do you rescue the person in trouble?
You certainly could jump in with both feet -but you would likely be carried away by the water, placing yourself in need of rescue. You could stand on the side and shout words of instruction or comfort. This would assure your safety.. but might not save the victim. Finally, you could use the firm stability of the tree to anchor yourself as you extend help.

This image descibes the "ministry moment" - the moment when we meet someone in crisis and we begin to strategize on how to respond.

In my life, there are times when I've applied each of the techniques. I have stood on the side and offered suggestions, I have also jumped in without recognizing how I was placing myself in danger.

For me, the tree planted firmly by the raging water represents the solid resources that are available whenever we help people in crisis. None of us are expected to do it on our own. The tree also symbolizes our faith in Jesus Christ who is always present as a source of strength in crisis. We must remain tethered to him - and tethered to good resources that keep us from being pulled down stream.

I share this because in the last 6 weeks, I haven't written because I was (going with this imagery) in rescue mode with my family. Sometimes holding on to the tree, other times clinging to a broken raft. Always catching my breath and trying to find solid footing.

I have found the solid footing of Jesus Christ in everything from my morning devotional (the upper room), bible study with other pastors, listening to Christian music, conversations with Christian friends.. and suprisingly, even from the recent movie we showed at church, FIREPROOF.

If anything has changed since I last wrote, it is that I can testify even more strongly that the only way to weather the storms of life is to be tethered to the unshakable love of Christ.


Anonymous said...

Amen to that. May God bless you in all that you do.

Anonymous said...

Faith, you are a wonderful example. Please let me and/or the
church help you through this time.
That is what Christian brothers and sisters are for. Lean on us!
Love, Me

Anonymous said...

If Jesus is the big tree by the river, then you (pastor) are the branch leaning out. If I am falling into the river, and will surely drown, I know I can reach you if I cannot reach all the way to Jesus. You can then pull me back closer to the big tree (Jesus.)