As the snow flies across my face, the breeze carrying it to a large field nearby, I gasp to protect my breath from being stolen in its wake. There is something about the winter in Iowa that stills my heart; quiets my soul, and the silence is deafening.
I remember one winter crying out to God and asking for help. I was disciplining myself that year to trust Him in all the small things, and was constantly frustrated with my failings, and the earthiness of my clay feet.
“I am trying so hard, but I don’t think I am growing!” I protested.
My tree grows in every season.
It is hard to see ourselves growing during the winter seasons of our lives. The fruit is gone, the sap inside us has slowed, the leaves have fallen. We look, well…barren.
בָּאתִי לְגַנִּי, אֲחֹתִי כַלָּה
I am come into my garden, my sister, my bride; (SOS 5:1)
The Torah compares people to trees in Hashem’s garden 1 and when I first began to study the way a tree grows, even in the desolate depths of an arctic tundra, I began to understand that growth is not always easy to see.
And yet, year after year, one ring after another, “My tree grows in every season.”
A couple of years later, in the spring, a neighbor of ours was removing an entire tree from her corner lot yard. They had a larger tree for shade, and wanted to put an above ground pool where the lesser tree stood. They efficiently had the branches and the trunk chopped in one afternoon. But the stump and the root system took a backhoe, skid-steer, and several hours of labor over two weeks to remove. The tree only stood about 20 feet high, but the roots were at least three times as deep as the tree was tall.2
My tree grows in every season.
During the barren winter months, a tree often spends it’s days shooting forth roots deeper and deeper into the soil. The roots can penetrate deep enough to access water despite the rain fall. The deeper the roots, the sturdier the tree. And a constant flow of water is necessary if a tree is to ever produce fruit. No fruit=no seeds=no more trees.
In some respects, planting deeper roots is like a life cultivated by prayer, studying the word, and a conscious contact with God; evidenced by good deeds. The more we trust God, in all seasons, the more we are connected at the roots.
The Master took this idea of a fruit bearing tree one step further 3 when he said,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Trust is the antithesis of worry and anxiety. I like to tell people faith (or trust) is really just the feeling you have when you flip on the light switch. It never for a second crosses your mind that the light bulb attached would fail to illuminate. In fact, most of us are surprised when a bulb burns out, revealing just how much we take for granted that the switch will work.
This may seem silly to you, but one way I practice trust (consequently moving away from anxiety) is to write my worries on a slip of paper and place it in my “God Box.” The things in my “God Box” are things I am submitting to God to worry about on my behalf.
Another way I practice trust is by logging my prayer requests in a prayer journal, and then writing in the answers to prayer as they happen. Once I have written out my heart about the issue I feel anxious about, I close the journal, and as I do, I say to myself, “Ok, that is in God’s hands now. No need to stress about it.”
Let go and Let God.
יְשַׁלֵּם יְהוָה, פָּעֳלֵךְ; וּתְהִי מַשְׂכֻּרְתֵּךְ שְׁלֵמָה, מֵעִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲשֶׁר-בָּאת, לַחֲסוֹת תַּחַת-כְּנָפָיו
The LORD recompense thy work, and be thy reward complete from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to take refuge.
What kind of things do you do to practice the Middah of Trust? We would love to hear from you!
SASHYA CLARK is a Disciple of Yeshua (Jesus) who practices Judaism. She writes, home-schools three beautiful children, and plays music. In her “free time” she also volunteers for Holy Language Institute and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to find her on Facebook, or follow her personal blog at thefringe2016.wordpress.com.
- Deut 20:19 Rashi’s commentary
- and how it is so! The “outward” appearance of a successful person in this world is easily torn down by circumstance, yet the stump remains, and can even produce a new branch, or shoot, if rooted and grounded well.
- this is a common practice of Chassidic teachers. Chassid means someone who goes above and beyond the Torah teachings. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/222869/jewish/What-Is-a-Chassid.htm