Art Story: "The Singing Tree" - Breaking the Bondage of the Fear of Man
When I was in my early thirties (around the year 2000) I found myself becoming rather paralyzed by the opinions of other people. It finally got so bad that I felt I needed to seek counseling so I could figure out the root of this problem and overcome it. In the first counseling session after listening to my story, the counselor gave me a copy of a book he thought might be helpful. It was called, “When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man” by Edward T. Welch.
In the book, the author shared a simple analogy which had a profound impact on me. He said something like: “when you spend your time walking among Dogwood trees, they seem like giants. But when you spend more time walking among Redwood trees, then when you walk among the dogwoods again, they then seem like mere twigs to you.” This made so much sense to me! My thoughts had been “walking among the dogwoods” of the opinions of mere human beings; therefore, people had become giants in my eyes. I needed to spend more time “walking among the Redwoods of God” by intentionally meditating on who he is: his names, his attributes. As I meditated, I also would visualize these attributes to ‘bring them to life’ in my mind and heart. This habit became prayers, praises and declarations for me to express to my Living God:
“You are the King of kings and Lord of lords! You are my Beginning and my Ending! You are the Master and Creator! You are the Source of Life! You are my Conqueror, my Champion! You are Victory! You are my Protection! You are my Beloved! You are Majestic! You are my Strength! Your promises never fail me! You are ever with me; you will never leave me!”
…and the list goes on! I’ve since enjoyed personal studies on God’s names and continue to confess and meditate on them along with the scriptures upon which these names can be found. I soon found human beings were in their correct order in the universe of my mind: mere twigs; no longer the disproportionate false giants my imaginations had made them to be.
“I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
human beings who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth,”
~ Isaiah 51:12-13
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
~ Proverbs 9:10
Because of developing the spiritual habit which I call “walking among the Redwoods of God”, I soon found a love and affection for the giant Redwood and Sequoia trees out in California. They have become a profound spiritual “object lesson” for me. For almost two decades, I longed to make a trip to visit them. I am happy to report that in 2018 for my 50th birthday, I made the trip! A real dream come true!
In 2019, I created this painting titled “The Singing Tree” to commemorate what these beloved Redwoods and Sequoias have done for me: their existence has sung the praises of our Creator, helping to lead me away from the bondage of the fear of man (people) down the pathway to freedom of the life-giving fear of the Lord!
“You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.”
~ Isaiah 55:12