Lessons from the Poplar Tree

A grove of trees stands at the end of our driveway. Two stately Poplars are among them. They are adorned with yellow flowers in the spring after a bare-branched winter and called Tulip Poplars.  

Poplars can grow up to 165 feet high. I estimate our two Poplars are at least 100 feet high and stand with straight trunks. Poplars also grow deep roots spreading out up to 130 feet in diameter.

Poplars have an interesting history. Ancient Romans planted Poplars in meeting areas and thus the Latin name for people, “Populus,” was born. Roman soldiers used the wood for battle shields and in contrast, Poplar wood was used in later centuries to build organs. Today, Poplar wood still has many uses including making pallets, snowboards, guitars and drums. It’s an impressive tree that reflects important spiritual lessons.

When we ask the Lord Jesus to dwell in our lives, He helps us to develop deep roots in our faith. If we tend our roots hand in Hand with Him, we will cultivate a strong, rooted network that will carry us through the most destructive winds of life.  We fertilize our good spiritual roots with Bible familiarity, authentic fellowship with the Lord and other believers. We add ways to serve others by rooting up our selfish natures and seek extra help when we face a problem or challenge that inhibits our maturity. 

Like the Poplars and other trees, growing time is part of the process. Sometimes, as we grow older and “taller,” the obstacles grow too. The winds of life buffet us. We may lose some branches, and sometimes, like the Poplar, the leaves of our lives fall off in a deep time of sorrowful winters. We wonder if the spring will return yet counting on the Lord to re-grow and rebuild us, Spring returns.
Akin to the Poplars, the Lord endows us with usefulness in our time here on earth. 

The ancient Roman shields of wood can become shields of prayerful protection when the enemy attacks us with doubt and pain. With God’s enabling, we carve out the “wood” of our lives with love and service. And although our “wood” may be a pallet not a guitar, each is important. 
"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." 

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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