Bare and Exposed…How many of us have been there. Maybe not bare in the sense of no clothes on, but bare as in vulnerable, peeled, shorn, stripped, uncovered. Each of those words can bring various pictures to mind. We can be bare and exposed in our,emotions, confidence and stability. Made bare by others stripping away bits, or even by our own doing.
As I walked the trail I noticed two parts of the woods that stood out. The roots of a tree grasping the bare, cold ground and the trees themselves, bare and exposed, naked. A far cry from the beauty the displayed not more than a month ago. Yet, in their nakedness, the bare, exposed starkness of their existence they caught me. I looked up in awe and wonder. Oh how God can teach us, awaken our hearts simply by really looking at a tree.
I have walked the trail in all seasons. I know that these stark trees will again be a canopy of beautiful green leaves that will eventually turn brilliant colors and fall to the ground; blanketing the dirt and stones in a multicolored quilt of crunchiness. And the trees once again reveal themselves bare and exposed.
Dark trunks towering. Branches out reaching. Sky so visible. As the wind blows through the naked branches they tap against each other reassuringly. “I am here too, exposed and bare for all to see, we are here together.”
Opportunities to learn, digest, and think are all around us. A simple walk reveals that it is our inner strength, that which for the most part others only see in the winters of our lives. In losses, mistakes, weakness, the center of who we really are. Stretching upward, reaching out, being moved by the wind but not overcome. Our strength comes from how we are rooted.
Are our roots shallow, only grasping at the surface? Are they deeper, seeking firm soil? Are they reaching out, searching for water? Roots are where a tree begins. Roots too are where you and I begin. Where and how we lay them down will be a precursor to how we will weather the winters.
Our strength does not come from us. It comes from God, the one who made heaven and earth and all things in them. Our roots should be in Him so we don’t topple at the slightest breeze. Our branches reaching out, reaching up, touched by His gentleness. His gentleness that knows what is best for us. Much like the seasons, our lives too have seasons. His is in each of them. He directs them.
It is through the seasons of life that our trunk grows strong, our roots grow deep and our branches reach out. In these seasons we flourish, shine and shelter. Some last longer than others, and some take their toll. It is in these we grow. It is when we are bare and exposed that we can see who we are and what we need most. When all is stripped away we have nothing to rely on but He who created and cares for us.
In whatever season you may be, know that the God who made the universe, the stars, the wind, the flower and the trees are with you, and will never leave. Bare and exposed, He covers us.