Embrace the Shade

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
John 1: 48

“To sit under a fig tree” is a Jewish figure of speech for meditating on Scripture. It is presumed that Bartholomew spent many hours under the fig tree in prayer with Scripture, was thoroughly familiar with its entirety, both the Law and the prophets, and understood that the Messiah had been promised and was coming.

Many people find spiritual comfort at times of loss by sitting under a tree. Take time to notice trees as you read God’s Word and as you explore God’s world. There is something special about them. Trees frame God’s redemptive plan. How do they frame your life? I like to refer to the forest as the cathedral of God’s creation. So when you need to pray, when thoughts are dominated by hurt and anxiety, go for a walk. Stroll among the silent sentinels that declare God’s faithfulness, the towering trees that point to the heavens in worship.

Bring trees into your spiritual practice, you may not have a place you can sit under a tree, but consider buying a plant and placing it in the area where you say your prayers. Or if the weather is too cold to sit outside, then sit by a window where you can see a tree.

As you plant trees, consider their benefits and count your blessings from God. As you witness trees grow, year after year, as new life appears each spring, consider the hope we have in Jesus Christ. This hope gives us peace in the present and great expectation for the future, as we look forward to the eternal tree of life.