The Red “X”

For days now – months actually, I’ve driven by these two trees.  I always notice them, as each one displays a big red “X” on its trunk.  I’ve wondered if the markings were graffiti, or if the trees were diseased and needed treatment, or if they were perhaps marked for cutting.  However, I surmised that if they were to be cut down, they would not need large red X’s to distinguish them – as they were the only trees in this particular front yard.

Each time I went by these trees I became more curious.  They were singled out.  But why?  What did they do to deserve this big red X?  Why were they seemingly chosen?

After driving by this site for so long, I decided two days ago that I would take a picture of these trees, as they were beginning to teach me lessons.  I was learning each time I cruised by.  So, armed with my camera I pulled into the driveway beside the trees and rolled (pushed the button actually) down the window of my car.  The wind was blowing, and I heard a wonderfully sweet, melodic sound coming from one of the branches.  I explored further to find that wind chimes were producing this beautiful sound.   It was a lovely moment, as I sat listening to the song from the red X’d tree as I snapped its picture.   I felt sort of strangely attached to these trees that had taken my attention.

Today I drove back down this road, only to be stopped by a police officer directing traffic.  Two large trucks were in the road and a few branches were scattered here and there.

“My” trees were gone!  Kapoom!….Gone!…Nothing left!   In my personalization of these trees, I hoped they were marked because they were “chosen” for something special.   Sometimes being chosen feels good, and sometimes it’s hard.  I think of the scripture in John 15:19

    If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

God has, in a sense, put a big red “X” on me.  Through the blood of Jesus, he chose me to be his daughter.  He chose me to be part of his family, and to live with him and be loved by him.  That feels really good.  Yet, when we live for God, the world doesn’t understand.  That sometimes doesn’t feel good.

In a way, each of us is marked with a red “X”.  God has chosen each of us; however we must decide to choose God in order to have a relationship with Him.  We can’t choose God and the world.  We belong to one or the other.   Jesus gives a sobering lesson using the visual of a tree.  Matthew 7:17-19

    Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

This makes me all the more eager to guard my heart, so that it will bear good fruit.  Prov. 4:23 NRSV  23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,  for from it flow the springs of life.

As long as I am standing I pray that, like the wind chimes in the tree, a melody from the fruits of God’s Spirit can come from my life – and that it is pleasing and delightful to Him.  “My” tree with the red X may be gone, but I’d like to think many a home can be warmed by the wood it produced.  Like the wood that comes from that tree, I long to be useful in fueling the spark that ignites and warms human hearts for Him.