The Grace Tree

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Jonni's Grace Treeby Jonni Sliver

Just one of the many wonderful things about being in Brazil is the pure beauty that surrounds you. Because of the temperate climate flowers bloom all year round and there is the most amazing array of flowering trees. The streets are decorated with fabulous colors and when the blooms fall it looks like the streets have been carpeted!

My personal favorite is the Flamboant tree (yup, the name comes from the same root as flamboyant – it is French for flames), and it is stunning. When it is in bloom its flowers are stunning yellows, violets and reds. But I like it best, not because of its flowers but because of the tree itself. It has long flat branches with delicate, feather like leaves that fan out. The branches layer one another and stretch out so far that on residential street one tree can cover a whole street. I love driving under the branches of these wonderful trees because I can almost feel God reaching His hand over me. Everyone else calls them Flamboant, but I call them Grace Trees, because they remind me of God’s gracious covering in our lives.

Just recently I learned a little more, that deepened my appreciation for my Grace Tree. We have been sprucing up (hey, another tree!) the Bible school grounds and some new plants have been introduced. I lobbied for my favorite tree to be planted but I was voted down. That is because the Flamboant has roots that grow very deep, and extend so far looking for water that they can easily damage sidewalks and wreck under grounds pipes. For the grounds keepers of the Bible school that is not highly desirable, but it is a great little object lesson for me! To see God’s grace manifest we have to have deep roots that seek out Living Water.

Psalm 1 talks about trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit with abundance of leaves – it sounds like a wonderful description of my Grace tree. I love it that God goes out of His way to remind us of His love and constant care for us. There are days when I am driving kids to the doctor or to a visit with their family, and their situation just seems overwhelming – then we pass under a Grace Tree. And I remember that nothing overwhelms Him and because I am in Him I don’t have to be overwhelmed either – praise the Lord for grace!

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