That is what we are....trees of life.
A woman at prayer today said this, "we are trees of life, we change the atmosphere." She was speaking out of a revelation the Lord gave her when she first arrived at MorningStar.
Yet when anyone starts talking about trees, plants, or flowers, I always begin to dig back in my horticultural training and try to make spiritual and natural parallels. So what is a tree of life in the natural....a tree that is alive!
We are all trees that are alive. Even the smallest in our midst are just young trees growing up under the canopy of the mature trees. Trees were meant (in the natural) to live in community. They grow in forests for a reason. When trees grow in forests they are stronger, they grow to be much older, and they support a whole different kind of ecosystem under their canopy than singular trees.
Note: an ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
Now, why do they do better in families (forests). Because they were designed to grow best when they are growing up, vertically; NOT horizontally. When they reach toward the light of the sun (in the natural) there is room for them all to grow together into a strong and protective canopy for the younger ones around them. They reach for the light, focused on the light, and grow taller than trees that grow out in the open on their own. They also are stronger because of all their fellow trees around them offering support from the roots, but also from all sides. In a storm, the winds blow, but they rub and lean against one another, and do not fall over.
The beautiful trees that we see planted out in a field by themselves are usually not healthy trees. They may look nice with their long, horizontal flowing branches, but they are under a lot of stress. They waste so much energy putting out those beautiful horizontal branches. They grow horizontal instead of upward, because there is no lack of light, therefore they are not forced to focus on growing in any particular direction. So they grow all over the place, aimlessly sending out branches that will later weigh too much for them to hold up in old age.
Singular trees in the open also aren't enough on their own to create their own atmosphere. They only create just enough shade to cover their root system, but not enough to cool the air around themselves significantly. Therefore, their roots dry out quicker, which causes them more stress in trying to get enough water to all those crazy horizontal branches.
Trees growing out in the open do not create a home for creatures to live in. A creature may stop and admire the trees beauty, or stop to take a break in its shade, but it will not live there because it is not a protected place. One tree does not offer enough safety on its own.
It isn't even safe for the lone tree. They are easily damaged in storms and are more susceptible to lightening strikes out in the wide open. With all that working against them, lone trees don't tend to live that long, they just can't stand against all those elements on their own for years and years and years. Rarely will you see a lone tree live much past 50 years, which is a very short life for a tree.
Forests, however, create a different atmosphere. It can be 100 degrees out in the sun, but the forest is cooler, and quieter. In the winter, the forest is warmer too because the many trees together block out the force of the winter wind.
Storms don't destroy whole forests because the trees together take the force of the winds as a united body. They are rooted into each other. Wherever a tree root touches another tree root there is the potential for a root fusion to take place (with trees of same species). With a root fusion, the two tree roots can then share water and nutrients and support one another. And back to the storms, you can't knock down just one tree in a storm because of those roots. The only way one tree can fall in a forest is if it is already dead and the roots are rotten.
Oh, the spiritual pictures we can draw from trees, eh?
It goes on, though.
So if we are trees of life, and we do best in community, then who do we create that atmosphere for? For the younger trees growing up beneath us, yes, but many, many creatures, big and small, find shelter and food in the midst of the forest. We are to create the atmosphere for ourselves as well as all those who need shelter in the world, not just for other trees, but for every creature that needs a refuge (the lost, the broken, the weary).
The world is full of storms, and we are TREES of LIFE, standing firmly together to make an atmosphere to shelter those around us. In the midst of that community of living trees, people will find that it is cooler in the heat of summer, warmer in the cold of winter, and full of water and life for all those who hunger and thirst.
Be blessed. We are the trees of life!