How did that get there?
Are you kidding? Is this for real? Has this image been created on someone’s computer to fool us into thinking that bikes can grow out of trees? If not, how did it get there?
Well before I answer those questions, let me say that as a preacher I’m always on the lookout for stories and images I could use to persuade people to stay awake and listen to my sermon. I collect these stories and store them on a computer file.
So, when I see a photo like this I immediately cut and paste it into my file, in the hope that one day I can use it as an illustration of something.
So, the answers to those questions in paragraph one are: ‘no’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘I’ll explain’. It is not a joke by a cyber trickster. It is a real bike, suspended seven feet above the ground in a real tree, on a real island (Vashon Island) in a real state (Washington).
So how did it get there? Well, the best theory is that very many years ago, the bike, which dates from about 1910, was abandoned in the woods over a sapling. In time the sapling grew and developed. A forked branch then weaved itself between parts of the bike and lifted it off the ground. And there it hangs, a picture of … well, whatever a preacher wants it to be a picture of.
For me, this is a picture of the unstoppable plans of God. The tree is God’s kingdom. God plants the seeds of dreams, which grow imperceptibly into saplings of grace, until they are fully grown. Nothing can get in their way; God’s kingdom will simply pick it up and carry it away.
Let that bike shock you into understanding just how powerful God’s kingdom is. The seed does its work silently, invisibly, and imperceptibly. You don’t even notice it at first. But eventually it takes over all it touches, and nothing can stop it. Even bicycles are caught up in its growth.
This seems to be the way God works in our lives. Silently, invisibly, and imperceptibly. Maybe you have experienced it. Perhaps there was once a problem that you struggled with – a habit or a character flaw, say. You prayed about it. You wrestled with it. You begged God to change you. You thought you were making no
But then one day something happened to you that would have caused the old habit or
character flaw to appear. But this time it was different. You found yourself responding in a way that surprised you. Instead of the old way of reacting – in anger or sarcasm, or in revenge, you found yourself at peace. You have able to move on from that event, thanking God that you have changed.
This is the kingdom of God at work within you. Silently, invisibly, and imperceptibly making you a better person, a more Christlike disciple. So, rejoice and be glad.