Isaiah 55:12 – You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (NIV)
On a wide curve on the Charleston Side Road between Airport Road and the village of Caledon, north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, stands a lone elm tree. About ten years ago, driving by about dusk, my husband had fallen asleep in the passenger seat. At the precise moment when we were rounding the curve, his eyes opened, he shuddered, and belted out, "Tornado!" The elm, standing alone by the roadside in the dusk, had been mistaken for a twister. Ever since then, we've called it the "Tornado Tree".
This living monument was somehow overlooked when the road was put through and the farmers cleared the land. Or perhaps it remained a lone survivor in an outbreak of Dutch Elm disease. Why it is there is beyond me, but I am grateful. I drive that road many times in a month on my way to visit my elderly dad, and it is a marker and reminder.
The elm, branches raised toward heaven and spreading over the earth, seems to be reaching toward its Creator and pointing the way. I've imagined it worshipping — standing, roots firm — for over a hundred years. It fulfills its purpose: it provides shade, it houses birds and insects, and it is a living testament to its Creator, a thing of beauty put there for us to enjoy.
I want to be like that Tornado Tree. I want to fulfill my purpose, thrive where I'm planted, and point the way to the Lord of creation. I want to worship Him with the gifts He has imparted and bless others. When storms come, I want to stand, even if I'm standing alone.
That is the lesson of this elm tree for me.
Prayer: Dear Father, we pray that today You would help us to stand firm — to stand rooted in the belief that You love us the way we are, that Your love is unshakable. Knowing that we are accepted unconditionally, help us to bless and encourage others, to fulfil our purpose in You. We love You, Lord. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.