Have you ever noticed how many times trees are mentioned in the Bible? BibleGateway brings up 269 references for the word tree. (Don’t worry. I’ll just mention a few.) Trees figured prominently in Creation as God made trees bearing fruit and seed for future trees. Genesis 2:9 states that “out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” And, of course, we know that the fruit used to tempt Adam and Eve probably grew on a tree! All that, in just the first three chapters of Genesis!
God showed Moses a tree to throw in the waters at Marah to make them sweet and drinkable (Exodus 15:25). As the spies scoped out the Promised Land, Moses asked whether there are trees in the land or not (Numbers 13:20). Palm trees, cedar trees, olive trees, sycamore trees – each have their own stories in the Bible. Palm trees were carved in the temple; cedar trees were also used in the temple; olive trees bore fruit, and if not were cursed; and sycamore trees were useful for short people to see Jesus.
The most significant tree was the cross on which Jesus died for our sins.
I love trees. Growing up in the Midwest, I love being surrounded by the giant oaks, soft maples, sturdy ash, and unlimited fruit trees. Our beautiful redbud trees signal spring as much as the cherry, apple, pear, crabapple, and plum trees that burst into bloom. And in the fall, we have just as much beautiful color as the New England states – every shade of red, burgundy, orange, yellow, and green.
For a time, I lived in Colorado in the mountains. While beautiful when the aspen turn golden, I often longed for the trees of home. To sit in the shade of an oak or maple. Although I loved where I was, I felt a longing, a loneliness for home.
Sometimes your pastor’s wife might feel lonely even though she loves where she is. Imagine growing up in New England or near the forests of Virginia and moving to serve in ministry in the desert of Arizona or the wide-open spaces of Texas. (I heard there is a tree in Amarillo.) Consider how it feels to not have the familiar things surrounding you, whether it is trees, or green grass, or family, or traditions. Small things can make us feel lonely. Sweet friends can help us through those lonely times.
Take a moment to ask your pastor’s wife what she misses from the home where she grew up. Encourage her by praying with her and for her. Be creative with notes, or gifts, or cards. Maybe, help her plant a tree!
Help fight loneliness by being there for her.
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