The Inside Counts…

It’s not always what it seems, you know?!

There’s a tree in my front yard.
A huge oak tree… it’s at least 50 years old.
It’s beautiful… It’s tall, full of foliage, great for shade… It is one of my favorite things about my front yard!

But, there’s something happening on the inside.

At first, after a big storm, there would be a few limbs in the yard.  No big deal, that’s normal right?  Then, a few months past and larger branches were found… then even larger!  Things are not looking good for the oak.

But, there’s something happening on the inside.

There are parts of the tree that have been removed in the past.  Big scars from pieces that once were.   Gaps and crevices from wind and rain… it’s worn and tattered… but still standing.

But, there’s something happening on the inside.

I noticed a deep hole in the side of the tree the other day.  I reached up to touch it, pushed my hand inside just enough to get a grip, and pulled down… a four foot section of the side of the tree came off in my hands.  The revelation of what was happening on the inside was much more destructive than I ever imagined.

The tree that, from the outside, looks strong and true is hiding its weaknesses inside a covering of leaves and bark.  A tree that is beautiful on the surface is sawdust in the middle.

Something got to its core.  Something ate away at it’s foundation and what should have kept it eternally strong.  Something corrupted it and no one knew.

So many times we let things infiltrate our being; get inside to our core, and take hold of the things that keep us stable.  We allow bitterness, anger, hurt and frustrations to change us from the inside out.  We keep it together on the outside as long as we can.  We put on a show for those around us…

But, that is exactly what the enemy is hoping for… he wants you to remain silent.  He wants you to put up a front and cover your faults and failures.
He’s desperate for you to breakdown, because otherwise you’re too strong for him to control.
He wants you to remain hidden, because he knows there is strength in numbers.
He wants to steal your happiness, because he knows that the joy of the Lord is your strength.

The big oak in my yard may not last forever and its external beauty will probably soon come to an end.  But that’s not the way it has to be with us!

Because something is happening on the inside.

There can be healing.  There will be strength restored.
Rally the troops.  Gather your friends.  find a supportive group.
But, don’t keep it to yourself.

Don’t compare.
Don’t judge.
Build others up.
Ask questions.
Be involved.

People need people.
Community needs community.

Because,
It’s not always what it seems, you know?!

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