Here in our part of the woods, the Southern hemisphere, Spring is coming.
The sap is rising is an often heard description of early spring. If you cut into the stem or branch of certain trees on a cool spring day, you may see sap dripping from the cut end.
Did you know ?
In early winter, deciduous trees enter a dormant phase. They drop their leaves, move sugar to their roots and wait for warmer temperatures to return. During this time, as long as the temperatures are above freezing (water is still liquid), water will continue to flow into the roots.
Trees will absorb water until the water pressure in trees is equal to the surrounding soils.
When air temperatures rise, the tree is primed and ready to go. It’s flush with water and starts moving sugars from its roots to the twigs, supplying the energy needed to grow new shoots and leaves. Ref : Woodlandtrust.org.uk
Isn’t Nature wonderful ? There are so many wonderful lessons we can learn by observing nature. The soil, the seed, the plant, and the seasons – the essences and cycles of life. And these cycles of life have one purpose in mind – to restore, replenish, rejuvenate and resurrect.
All done in the silence and mystery of the nature of things.
Sometimes when a tree is cut right down, and the stump gets a scent of water, it will send out shoots in anticipation of new life, of resurrection.
Job 14:7-9. says it beautifully
8. For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And its tender shoots will not cease
8. Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground.
9. Yet at the scent of water it will bud, And bring forth branches like a plant.
Resilient humans are like that too. When brought low, they may be dormant for a while then at a hint of hope, will rise up, like the sap in a tree at the coming of a new spring.
To continue in the metaphor of the tree, there is also a pruning season. Why a pruning season ? Well in nature, the reasons for pruning trees are – beautifies them, helps the tree to grow, encourages fruit production, removes hazardous branches, treats diseases and improves vistas ! Most humans need pruning too, that is spiritual pruning, probably for the same reasons trees do, only we may feel the pain of it more intently.
In trees is the breath of life. They take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, a commodity we cannot live without. They fulfill such an important part of our existence here on earth. They provide the nutrition of good food to keep us healthy, wood to keep us warm, and paper to write our hearts on. On a hot summer’s day they give shade to man and beast. And they are a beauty to behold.
I love the parallel between people and trees.
In Scripture there are many descriptions of people like trees :
Psalm 104:16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Psalm 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14. They shall still bear fruit in old age, They shall be fresh and flourishing.
Isaiah 55:12 …. And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Job 8:16 He grows green in the sun, and his branches spread out in his garden.
I think God likens people to trees. I like to think that in His fields of Faith, throughout the ages and generations He has planted many seeds. Some seeds (souls) lie dormant for a long time, some come to fruition in their time.
In the fullness of time, the seeds begin to grow, and if watered and nurtured by His Word, they fulfill their destiny and His purposes.
Of course there are dangers around every turn to prevent the souls from coming into their full potential. Danger lurks everywhere once the stem pushes through the soil.
But once the seed becomes a fully grown tree it provides beauty, shelter, shade and food for others to enjoy. In its season, the sap will rise, to bear more leaves and branches, to give more fruit and more shade.
A season for pruning may come, to cut away distorted growth, diseases and the necessary surge for new growth to take place. All to the advantage of the beautiful tree.
God watches over His fields of Faith, the planting of the Lord. He knows and sees the trees of the field, and knows their needs, their desires and their seasons. He lovingly waters them and nourishes them with His care and by His Word.
So in this new Spring season I tell myself, ‘don’t be a dying stump, reach for the promises of God, allow the sap to rise, and grow new praise branches.’