I put up a tree this year. For the last two years, I’ve elected not to do so. Typically, if it’s not up by December 15th, it’s a wrap. This year, the Holy Spirit suggested that I get the tree out of storage (yep, I’m an artificial girl) before the snow storm. I was so happy I did, because being snowed in provided space to put it up. It happens to be a pre lit tree that I’ve had for a number of years. After I finished decorating and plugged the tree in, I found it to be beautiful, but one slight issue caught my attention. My pre lit tree was dim on the bottom in the rear. To my chagrin the lights on that portion were present but not functional. The impulsive part of me wanted to dismantle the tree and enable my short lived tradition to go into year three. After all, the bulbs were present, so in all actuality, they should work. However, I hesitated and elected to leave the tree up. After all, it was beautifully flawed, just like us; and just as God elects to sustain us, so might I in terms of the tree.
Sometimes our imperfections are on full display, like my tree in the window. In contrast, we do not intend for the world to take notice of our mistakes. We’d prefer to hide them or hope that they go unnoticed. This is perhaps even more magnified when we are on the receiving end of mistakes made by others. No one elects to be embarrassed and when humility springs forth, we’d opt to go into seclusion. Yet, as believers in Christ, it is quinnessential that we trust God through the process He ordains and recall that while our tribulation may be devastatingly challenging for us, it is actually presenting a well watered hope for someone else. Throughout 2018, I’ve wanted to discard portions of my existence, just like I desired to throw away my semi-lit tree. However, God continued to remain faithful, giving me what I needed when I felt like I had nothing left, enabling me to shine despite crevices of my life that were dark and felt dormant. That is essentially the beauty of this relationship with Christ. It is truly the epitome to the urbanized “ride or die” experience. Job 13:25 affirms, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Trusting God is one thing, but maintaining those ways is entirely different. Yet, through it all, as we place our trust in God, He will enable us to stand in full demonstration, flaws and all as we strive toward being more like Him. If you recall, Jesus never required perfection. In fact, He marveled with what man considered impossible. He always made space for dimly lit persons and to be sure, that same extension is available today.
God does not require us to be without fault. If He did, we would each come up short. Yet concurrently, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make every effort possible to do what is right before the Lord. Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” God gets us, because He created us, yet that doesn’t mean we have card blanche to act a monkey whenever we please, to whomever we choose. Once we come into the knowledge of who God is, and who He desires for us to be, those monkey business moments decrease, and the God that we deposit inside of us shows itself more and more externally through our actions, through our speech and through our intentions.
God loves us through our dark moments, and through the spaces that don’t shine as bright as other areas of our lives. We live in a world that chooses to show what is most appealing. I would suggest that is not necessarily so terrible, but we must know that is not the entirety of the narrative. From the outside of our home, one can see a beautifully lit tree; yet if you were to come inside and look carefully at the bottom, the portion that cannot be seen through the window, you will see branches that are dark and void of light. It is representative of us. It is not necessary to throw the tree away because a portion is not working as designed. Just as the tree remains plugged in, so must we to the God of our salvation. Whether that “portion” ever works or not, the main consideration is that it provides balance to stand, and so it is valuable as a structural means, just as each of us are of significance to the Kingdom of God. Lamentations 3:24 proclaims, “The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.” To God, we are each valuable and vital, whether we are lit or not, as long as we continue to stand.