A thousand-year pine.
Could it possibly be?
Nature lover Enos A. Mills claimed such of an old evergreen cut down by foresters in 1903.
Old Pine, he called it, growing in the southern Rockies where the four states meet. Where Mesa Verde cliff dwellers looked out from carved, stony alcoves. Where they weaved baskets, roasted corn, hunted wild game while Old Pine’s one-hundred-fifteen foot frame rose high over the rocky terrain.
Generations came and went where Old Pine stood. Six hundred years, in fact, before Christopher Columbus set foot on American soil. How small man must have seemed. How brief each human life must have looked from its spine-covered boughs.
Like a day. Like a watch in the night.
Like what God sees when he looks down on each one of us as we go about our ephemeral lives. Moses thought so in his heart-wrenching prayer recorded in scripture.
Listen to a piece of it in Psalm 90:4,
“A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (NIV)
A thousand years.
The temptation at that thought, the temptation for Moses was to anger. To resent, bemoan, mourn the brevity of his days. To consider God wrathful, cruel, apathetic in light of all the troubles these few short years so often bring (see v.9-11). And why not? Interpreting the heart of God in such ways seems justifiable, accurate even. Are our lives not insignificant, meaningless, irrelevant in light of eternity?
But Moses’ words divulge a greater truth.
A higher perspective that undermines such anger and destabilizes the defective characterization of God built from the limited vantage point of mortality.
“Just gone by.”
That is how God sees our days, our nights. Our hurt, our pain. In closeness, in tenderness, in the proximity of yesterday, not the expanse of eternity. He considers no detail frivolous, no event minor. No triumph petty, no tragedy inconsequential. Rather, Abba Father holds each moment fresh in His mind. He feels each day we live, raw and recent, as if it has “just gone by.”
Old Pine could tell you.
Though he encountered long-ago lightening strikes and ant invasions, emaciating drought and prodigious abundance. Though his side was even wounded by ancient arrowheads still embedded in his fleshly marrow, to Mills the naturalist, Old Pine’s life mattered. Every ring told a story worth documenting, every ring a meaningful event worth sharing. Old Pine’s life was so significant Mills put it into a book for others to read. And read again and again each time as if it had “just gone by.”
Even in death, God’s goodness, His care did not fail Old Pine.
And it will not fail you.
The Lord knows where you are. He knows where you’ve been every moment of your life. He knows what tomorrow holds. And over it all, He is covering, protecting, providing.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,” the Lord said and meant it (Hebrews 13:5).
For well over a thousand years.
In what ways do you struggle to believe how God’s eternal nature and His overwhelming goodness are both intertwining pieces of His character? What might God be speaking to you today about your significance to Him?