Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lessons From The Piney Stick Forest

The other morning I was wheeling across the 30 country mile commute minding my own business and doing what I usually do… 

Sipping some coffee, singing some songs, and talking with God.

Sometimes, I sip in silence and try to listen, but mostly, I monopolize the conversation. That particular morning, I was doing a lot of yakking. And it was that type of God yakking that is really more of a pity party lamentation. I was overcome by the state of the world. 

As I rounded the curve, this guy pulled out in front of me.


Now, one encounter that I dread more than most along that country commute is the encounter with the log truck. Not only does it slow my pace and mess with my groove, it also plays into my phobias.

 I hate the way the logs bounce up and down in their precarious perch. I imagine one slipping from its chains and hurling like a torpedo through the windshield of my car and decapitating me. 

That’s just the way I think. 

In addition to the torpedo phobia, I hate that the loose pine bark sails through the air and pings the car windows, especially when the truck is newly loaded as this one was. 

So I slowed Ebenezer and slid to the shoulder to put some distance between me and the offending logger. And since the shiny red Kodak was in my purse anyway, I whipped her out and took that picture. 

Just in case I wanted to blog a complaint… 

And folks,  it was at that moment that God used his piney stick forest to yak back.

Appearances, God reminded me, can be very deceiving. You see, when I first glanced over my shoulder, this is was I saw.  

A dark and confusing mass of trunks and limbs, obscured by a twisted thicket. I’m pretty certain there were snakes in there, too. Pretty much the way I see the world these days...

But then I remembered the log truck.

This is south Georgia, you see. 
It's pulp wood country,  
The Land of the Planted Pines.   
And this was a planted piney stick forest.

So I took two steps to my left...

And two steps more...
Until that same forest looked like this.

Not so dark and scary now, is it?  

All just a matter of perspective. The planter had a perfect plan, and it's all lined up for the harvest. For some oddball reason, it was very comforting to me.    

Our Sunday School lesson this week is about Palm Sunday. I love the fact that the beloved disciple had fewer words to say about the drama than the other three gospel writers even though he was an eye witness. I guess he figured that his verbose buddies had the details covered. But there was one thing that John alone added that caught my eye.

At first his disciples did not understand this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
John 12:16

Huh. Imagine that. Even they didn’t quite get it right away. It took some time and perspective to see that what looked a bit crazy and confusing was all part of the perfectly planted plan of God.

It always is.

I guess they needed to have their own piney stick forest moment.

Have a happy Palm Sunday.
And, Hosanna!

(Originally posted on Palm Sunday, 2010)
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