Thankful for 3 days in Western Ukraine with Deb and the two little girls. We took with us Dima & Lena who have served with at at Lighthouse for now 2 years. They love hiking and have been a huge blessing particular with our Club 180 students this past year as our family has become more mobile with projects and ministry outside of Rzyschiv.
It takes about 12hrs to drive from our house to the campsite we like to visit. About 10 of the 12hrs you can drive normally, then for about 50km it’s treacherous and preferable by horse or tank!
The end is worth the journey as gorgeous, untouched nature impresses, and blesses your soul.
I was captured by the inner beauty of wood.
The outer bark, not so much. Bark’s role of protection from the elements has literally a weathered look. What is developing inside however is something beautiful – the rich, pleasant and useful hard wood lies inside the aged tree. While the youthful, green trees sway around the mountain side, its the anchored, tried and true trees that hold the real treasure.
I am still recovering from a shoulder injury from this spring (hockey). It’s taking forever to heal – and I keep re-injuring it. For those that have aged before us, they warned me of this. As bark like wrinkles form around our weathered bodies, so too our muscles, organs and systems slowly give way to father time. What lies underneath however, the very character shaped through adversity, the real treasure on earth.
In our narcissistic, ‘selfie’ world, we focus on the shallow, the surface. There’s a certain attractiveness no doubt to youthfulness, in all it’s mid-twenties glory. The seeming unending energy, limitless creativity and zeal. Trimmed with abounding greenery the youth frolik about in the wind, traveling to and fro with blissful ignorance. With youth, what you see it typically what you get.
Like a car, youth possess a shiny exterior. Open the hood however, and you find an underdeveloped, rather unimpressive engine.
Conversely, those who’ve traveled the difficult miles of life, who’s exterior bears witness to the inner toil, possess an impressive thing. Character. Some serious RPM’s. One of life’s ironies, that we possess energy and vitality when we know very little how to use it well.
Character, particularly that which is has been shaped through the hope that is in Jesus Christ, is a powerful thing. The mighty, steely reservoir of purpose, determination and wisdom hides nestled beneath the bark.
I was amazed at the quality furniture, houses, and general purposefulness of wood this trip. In a world of old soviet ‘cement’ surrounding us, so refreshing!
The swaying youthful trees chuckle at aged immobility. They scoff in complete ignorance. The night is falling, the winds and storms will rage, and not all trees will survive the difficulties of life – many will fall. It will be those that develop roots, who focus on inner growth who will survive.
I wanted to kayak, but I couldn’t. Not this time, not with one arm. Instead, I gazed upon the forests with book in hand. I became mindful that the journey ahead has more difficulty, but more promises too. We are called to become like Christ, to build lives that stand in hope and provide shade for others to find the same Savior’s joy. We rejoice in the youth around us, we champion them on – but we embrace our bark and deepening roots.
Look in the mirror, spot your bark, and rejoice with us in the goodness of God!
Bruce & Deb