Sunday, February 06, 2005


Pine trees bowed under weight of ice

Pine trees stand upright after the thaw

The Weight of Sin
by Janice Price

Walking was an adventure that morning. Chunks of ice and ice-laden branches were dropping from the huge oak trees that lined both sides of the street and landing in the street and on the sidewalk. Melting ice dripped from the trees at a rapid rate. A steel helmet, or at the very least an umbrella, was warranted, but I didn’t have either.

Early Sunday morning, the dogs, Merci and Buddy, and I wanted to stretch our legs a bit after staying close to home since the Friday night ice storm. I also wanted to check on the damage along part of our daily walking path. We walked as fast as we could beneath each tree, dodging branches on the ground, until we reached a short stretch with fewer trees and a good view.

The sight of the pine trees, trees normally taller than I am, was incredible. I turned around to hurry the dogs back home to get my camera. Two days before this, the hillside and field below were covered with lovely green pine trees. Now the area was a sea of icy lumps. All of the pines but one were bent nearly to the ground under the weight of the ice that covered them and the one left standing was a mere shadow of itself with its branches plastered to its trunk.

As I walked the dogs home and returned with the camera to take photographs, I thought about the words that popped into my mind when I first saw the trees: the sin which so easily besets us. These words come from Hebrews 12:1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Large branches and pine cones littered the ground where I stood, but the older pine trees remained standing. The young trees were unable to stand erect under the weight of the ice that fell from the sky, bending them low to the ground and freezing them into that position.

Oh, how many times I have felt I was frozen into the same position! Unable to stand upright, and once bent low, unable to rise again and stand erect. But the weight that crushes me is not ice. Ice eventually will melt, but sin can bow me over and keep me down. It is heavy and the longer the sin is not recognized or not confessed, the heavier it grows and the greater the chasm between me and God grows. If I do not repent quickly, Bible study, prayer and my relationship with God suffer. I am miserable and so is anyone around me.

I walked back Monday morning and took another picture of the same area. Young pine trees peppered the hillside. The heavy weight that pinned them down had melted, setting them free and allowing their branches to reach toward the sky again. They were slightly off center for a day or two, but they were erect.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1: 9

I must resemble one of those young pine trees when I do not recognize or confess my sin. God does not leave me bowed down forever, nor does he give up on me when I’m dense or stubborn. When I confess my sin, God forgives me and the chasm between us disappears. The heavy weight is gone and I can stand erect again, my arms free to pick up the Bible and my conscience clear for prayer.

The young pines on the hillside flourish, growing stronger, unencumbered by the heavy weight of the ice. I, too, grow stronger, while unencumbered by the heavy weight of sin.

© 2005 Janice Price

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