Over the past few weeks, our family has spent at least half of every Saturday chopping and burning tree branches.
It started when Doug was able to borrow a pole saw and deal with some of the limbs that had been hanging over our house and yard. We wanted to get it done before winter, knowing that an ice storm could wreak havoc on the trees and our roof.
I really didn’t think it would be that big of a job. I mean, I knew there were quite a few branches hanging over the house, but not that many.
For the record, it’s amazing how much bigger and more numerous they seemed when piled on the ground!
The first Saturday, we dove into the pile of what Doug had cut earlier in the week. But when we were only about halfway through the front yard pile (there was another pile on the side of the house and yet another in the back yard), Doug climbed up on the roof and cut out a few more branches.
Have I mentioned there were a LOT of branches?
The next week, we left the front yard and worked on the back yard, chopping, burning, and salvaging logs for the fireplace. We even roasted hot dogs and made s’mores, just to make it a bit more fun.
But it was still overwhelming. And we still had the side yard. And Doug cut down a few more branches in the backyard.
Yes, there were a lot of branches.
On that second Saturday, my oldest was manning the fire. We had a huge pile of branches beside the fire, waiting to be burned. But for two solid hours, that pile didn’t seem to shrink any. We kept cutting and piling, adding branches to the pile and to the fire itself. Finally, we had the back yard cleared – well, except for the huge ever-growing pile still waiting beside the fire.
My daughter, tired and hot from standing near the fire, looked at the huge pile with dread. “That will take forever to burn through, Mom!” she sighed.
Wrapping my arm around her, I turned her toward the rest of the back yard. Her eyes grew wide as she saw bare ground where branches had been piled not long before.
Life has a way of doing this to us. We see only what is right in front of us. Sometimes it is because what is right in front of us requires all of our energy and attention, leaving us no choice. Other times, we choose to keep our attention close, ignoring the broader picture.
Still other times, God closes our eyes to what is beyond the immediate. He knows that seeing it all would be like seeing all of those branches lying in the yard at the same time – overwhelming. The task before us would be too great. All we can handle is what is right in front of us.
But God knows that we can, in truth, handle it all. He knows He can walk us through each step until the job is done. We just need to keep our focus on Him and the little bit right in front of us.
There are times when God wants us to open our eyes to the bigger picture, seeing how He is working beyond our tight, little world. Other times, though, He simply wants us to obey in what He has placed before us right here, right now.
How can you focus today?
(PS – We finished the task last Saturday. Which means tomorrow we get to finally put out fall decorations instead of doing yard work. YAY!)