The Hackberry Tree

After the birds planted a hackberry seed, when it came up right where we’d had an Althea bush, my husband moved it close to our back door. Too close, as it turned out, for either plant. As it grew, I realized its shape didn’t resemble our old Althea and wondered what  was this tree-like, former seedling.

When it produced a few berries, my called my plant-knowledgeable friend and described the berries. She told me we had a hackberry tree. A couple of times I’d already cut back branches that over-reached our steps in the back of the house and could imagine doing that for the next years we lived there. Little did I know how fast that tree would grow, needing trimming three times each summer!

First some caterpillars attacked the tree and I thought maybe they would eat so many leaves that it would die. The next summer it had webs, that when I’d cut off a bad branch, seemed to grow to that many more. Spraying didn’t affect either the webs or the tree. They weren’t like the webworms we sometimes have on the pecan trees, but again I thought maybe those would kill the tree. Unfortunately a few days after I cut all the limbs off because of these webs, I noticed new green leaves popping out all over.

Now I really would like to have a hackberry tree in our yard because the berries draw birds, which would then come to my birdbath and bird feeder, so I could easily see them. But I do not want the tree two feet from my back steps. Of course, the hackberry has no idea what’s happening; it simply keeps growing because it contains life. No matter what comes against it, it continues growing.

I couldn’t help thinking of times I’ve slowed down in my Christian growth because of circumstances that came against me. Yet, I’ve never had real disasters overtake me, and I praise God for that, so I wonder how I’d stand then. Will I be as resilient as this hackberry? It’s definitely a lesson worth learning.

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan [or in enemy territory]? (Jeremiah 12:5 NIV)

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown (Revelation 3:11).

Next to him [Eleazar] was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. 12 But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.
(2 Samuel 23:11-12).