Trees, which often stand taller than us and live longer than us, expand our perspective. They inspire wonder by symbolizing wisdom, protection, and connection.
One of my favorite places to pray and meditate is by a majestic sycamore tree in our backyard. I lean up against the sycamore’s bumpy trunk and look upward at its crown, where multiple branches filled with lush green leaves cover me. As I gaze into the tree’s canopy, and the sky beyond it, I feel connected to parts of nature that are bigger than me – the massive tree, and the expansive sky. That lifts my perspective higher, helping me connect to God and experience wonder.
In Wake Up to Wonder, I describe many different ways of encountering wonder through trees -- from forest bathing to visiting witness trees. Every type of tree can inspire you with wonder by enlarging your perspective. Trees, with their deep roots, solid trunks, and sprawling branches reaching upward, show the wondrous beauty of growth. Their height and age can inspire us to move beyond limits and pursue possibilities.
Here are some Bible verses about trees that you can use in prayer and meditation:
"Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so." - Genesis 1:11
"The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." - Genesis 2:9
"But the LORD God warned him [Adam], “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden -- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” – Genesis 2:16-17
“She [wisdom] is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.” - Proverbs 3:18
“How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” - Psalm 1:1-3
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us -- or it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’.” - Galatians 3:13
"You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." - Isaiah 55:12
"A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart." - Luke 6:43-46
"He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit. " - Jeremiah 17:2
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious, I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” - Revelation 2:7
"Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy." - Psalm 96:12
"But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever." - Psalm 52:8
The next time you need a fresh perspective on your circumstances, spend some time among trees -- such as sitting underneath a tree in your neighborhood or taking a walk through woods. The awe you'll discover will grow your perspective so you can see God's work in your life and feel his love for you.