Last week part of the fence in our back yard was taken down. Before that, it had formed an L-shaped corner with a longer section of fence. There was a wooden pallet leaning in that corner with one of those wire plant baskets perched on top of the pallet. As you’ve probably figured out, it was not a high-maintenance section of our yard.
Somehow, a tree started to grow behind the pallet. I don’t know how because it didn’t receive any sunlight, but you know how that goes—there’s no telling certain things what they can or can’t do and this tree was one of them. Before we knew it, it had shot up in height and you could see it peeking over the top of the pallet. Then it started to grow through the wire basket. And the next thing we knew, parts of the basket were disappearing into the tree as it absorbed the basket.
The tree was probably close to twenty feet tall when we took it down yesterday. Of course, I was fascinated by how the basket and tree had merged. I grabbed what I could of the basket and tried to shake or twist it but to no avail—it had totally fused with the tree. The only way to shake it was if you were strong enough to shake the tree and I wasn’t—it was too stout.
As we were brought the tree down, cut it in sections and cut off its branches, I thought about how at some point in our lives, our relationship with God is like the way the tree and basket started out—they were two distinct entities. Then we begin to learn about Him and grow closer. Intersection occurs when we receive His grace through faith at baptism.
Our lives begin to merge with Him as we allow God to come into more and more of our lives. Then after the passing of time that must include not just sunshine, but harsh winds, storms, high temperatures, and freezing weather—we one day notice that our lives have become fused with God. We are in Him, and He is in us. Things that used to shake us no longer do because we have found in Him a strength we never imagined. God has a powerful hold on us.
Christ spoke of being one with the Father (John 10:30). While we clearly don’t have oneness anywhere near the degree that He did, I do think the Scriptures teach we can have oneness with God. They speak of God being friends with Abraham and Moses, of Christ being friends with the apostles.
These friendships were forged in the fires of a long obedience in the same direction. They were not perfect people, but they were loyal and steadfast. They were in His word and His words were in them (John 15:15). They followed in all seasons of life. As with John the Baptizer, He became greater, and they became less. The more you looked at them, the more you saw of God and Jesus. They found their life by losing it.
And we will find ours in the same way.