You may have noticed that one of the large, old oak trees in front of the church fell down a few weeks ago. This week the tree service took the rest of the tree down, ground up the stumps and hauled away the branches and trunks. However, on Sunday the trunks, and branches were still there. Before the worship services, I walked outside to get a closer look at them. They were quite large. I am not an arborist, but from my unprofessional counting of the rings, it seemed to be well over a hundred years old! For a moment I thought about all that had happened under this tree in the time it was standing.
However, it was not easy to try to count the rings because the tree was rotten. By that I mean that it was almost hollow. Some kind of disease had been working away at the core of the tree, and while it looked okay from the outside - on the inside it was dead or dying. It reminded me of the description by Jesus of the Pharisees - "You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean." (Matthew 23:27b, NIV) Now those are pretty harsh words, but they speak of something that seems okay on the outside, but is not okay in the inside.
Sometimes, I can relate to that. On the outside it may seem like I am doing okay, but inside I know there are things going on that are not the way God would have me to live. And if we ignore things like that, like our fallen tree, they can consume us from the inside out. And when the next storm of life comes along, we won't have the inner strength to withstand it.
But through God's grace, we can open up even our deepest shortcomings and feel the healing power of God's love that can help us to heal from the inside out. Today I invite you to spend a few moments to consider where you need that kind of healing in your life today, and ask God to begin that work in you. I know you will be glad you did!