Invisible forests fill my life.
I keep looking for individual trees, trees that have somehow caught my imagination. My tree-hunt makes it tough for me to see the forest.
And I'm not the only one.
John the Baptist was looking for a tree. And he thought he found one. He actually thought he found The One. The Messiah turned out to be his cousin, Jesus.
And John gets a front row seat. He preaches, the voice crying out in the desert "Prepare the way for the Lord." He recruits a band of disciples, some of whom will, at some point, join Jesus' crew. He baptizes the Messiah. Baptizes the Messiah! Trees everywhere!
But he begins to doubt. Years go by and the Romans still oppress the people of God. Time flies and corruption still plagues the temple. John gets thrown into jail.
He doubts. He gets frustrated. It's all over Luke 7, messy and hard to watch. Someone who's seen so many trees should be able to see the forest, right?
But he can't. John is looking for a specific set of trees. Jesus offers another set.
One key to living a gratitude-filled life is to accept the trees God gives you. "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."
Those trees might add up to Messiah Forest. They might surprise us, might turn out to be better than anything we had hoped or imagined to see. If we can see them, we might be filled with gratitude.