Have you ever run into a tree? You've been out walking in the dark and you can't see which way you're going and all of a sudden you hit something solid and immoveable, you get that weird feeling in your nose and pain shooting through your body, and you know exactly how real that tree is no matter whether or not you could see it? God's love is sure like that, some days. Even when you can't see it, you turn a corner and then, bam, it hits you right in the face. It was there all along, though. You just didn't see it.
Tree roots also turn up in the strangest places. A sidewalk thirty yards from a tree will start buckling, and it turns out that a root from the tree has gone all the way out there to find water. It's changed the entire landscape. God's love does that. Ends up in completely different places than where we thought it was, and all we can do is marvel. It's changed our lives forever, even if we didn't expect it to show up.
Trees change through the seasons. From the promising buds of spring to the beautiful canopy of shade to the full palette of colors to empty limbs in winter, the tree is in constant flux. But the tree is always there, always present, never moving. Sounds like God to me! Always moving, never predictable, always there. Sometimes in the winters of our lives we wonder if God's love has left us, just as perhaps in the long winter nights we wonder if the leaves will come back, but spring comes, and we discover the tree is alive and well, just as it has been all summer. It was just in a different form.
Trees grow slower, often beyond our ability to comprehend it, but then we walk out the door and notice that the tree has grown three feet! God's love often moves in imperceptible ways until we look back and notice how much we've changed.
Trees also plant other trees. Some use pinecones, other use nuts or acorns, but each tree plants little seedlings around itself. God's love does the same for us, inspiring us to plant little miniature versions of God's love in our world. All of our love points back to God's love, showing the true beauty!
Trees can be cut down. Sometimes they're burned in fires or just die of disease or old age. God's love never dies. In fact, its stronger than death. My analogies aren't perfect. God's love is perfect. Thanks be to God for that! (And for trees, because most of them are beautiful!)