My one hope on our trip to Santa Rosa was to see the Armstrong National Forest, home to the California redwoods. They’re magical in their magnificence, with height and age that supersedes other local flora.
We weren’t able to go because last year’s forest fires in northern California did a lot of damage to the park, and the trails aren’t safe to hike yet.
I was disappointed until we began driving down the coast and found redwoods scattered throughout the area. What we all noticed quickly was that they seemed to be in groups, some sharing space so close to each other they appeared to be like family with shared roots.
My little sister had heard them referred to as fairy rings. We did some research and discovered it’s a group of redwood trees growing in a circle, usually around the stump of a tree that’s been chopped down. A new generation of trees sprouts from the roots of these fallen trees, like parents who nurture their children. The fallen tree provides nutrients for the young trees which thrive because there is an established root system.
The more we drove around, the more of these rings of redwoods we discovered, family units together in the wild. There’s something about the intimacy of relationships in nature that defies explanation. How plants become stronger while relying on one another in a way that’s organic and positive. When a parent tree dies, the sprouts coming from that root system will be stronger and more stable than those sprouting independently.
At this time of year, with Easter just days away, the redemptive aspect of a parent tree providing the necessary nutrients for healthy growth for its sprouts reflects a sacrificial perspective on what real love is.
Easter is the ultimate picture of love and sacrifice, of life given for life, of love conquering death. It’s the reality of a loving God wanting those He’s created to know Him and the power of His love. To do that, He had to become like one of us that we could see and experience grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
Jesus came to this world to show us God.
The parent tree.
For us to have access to God, we have to have a renewal we can’t provide for ourselves. A perfecting that we can’t achieve on our own. So God came in the flesh, not just to show us God, but to die for us as His Son.
Providing the nutrients we need for spiritual wholeness and the hope of heaven.
Redwoods thrive from the established root systems of older trees. Life comes from life well lived, and the one flourishes when life is over for the other.
Jesus has established a lifestyle for us to embrace, one where He has provided exactly what we need for eternal life and the guarantee of heaven. He died so we might live.
The longevity of the redwoods is a finite picture of the hope of heaven. An assurance that we are more than this world sees of us.
Take a page from the book the redwoods wrote. Sink your roots deep into Someone who matters, who cares about what you are and who you become.
Life now and then will be richer.