Make Like a Tree (Excerpt from “The Scent of Hope)

Make Like a TreeDid you ever hear someone say, “Make like a tree and leave?” Well, it’s not a nice saying, but the concept of  “men as trees” was not some sarcastic person’s original idea. It came from God. In Psalm 1, the Lord used a metaphor to compare a person who constantly regards His Word and finds pleasure in obeying it to a tree. And not just to any old tree, but a blessed tree—a flourishing tree. It’s a tree that is not dry, barren or withered, but one that is fruitful.

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).

Unlike a wild tree that springs up wherever a seed may connect with soil, this tree is purposefully chosen and planted in a place of provision.



The comparison of a man to a tree is found throughout Scripture, including several in the book of Job. The following is the inspiration for my recent book release, The Scent of Hope:

“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant” (Job: 14:7-9).

These hope-filled words were the backdrop for Job’s “poor me” declaration in the next verses. Poor Job was lamenting the severity of his situation by making the point that even a tree had more hope than he, a mere man, could have for himself.


The wisest man who ever lived wrote: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

There is a God of hope, and He is in the tree growing/man growing business, not the tree cutting/man destroying business.

To grow wood, some tree farmers use a practice known as coppicing. To the untrained observer, this form of woodland management could seem harsh. Why? Because the same tree is cut down repeatedly. First the trunk is cut close to the base, leaving just a stump in the ground. This usually happens in winter, and by the next spring, shoots are rapidly growing from the buds that had been dormant in the stump.

Depending on the end use of the wood, these new shoots are harvested when they are ready to be used as poles or for furniture or in buildings. Wood from the original tree can be reharvested many times, and coppicing has been used for centuries as an extremely efficient means of producing impressive quantities of fast growing, renewable timber without having to replant from seeds or saplings.

Because coppiced trees already have fully developed root systems, regrowth is quick. Although the method clearly hews down the original tree, coppicing actually resets the aging process and extends the life of a tree while providing needed timber for building.

Another method used by other tree farmers, especially fruit tree growers, is the creation of “stump beds.” Like coppicing, a tree is cut to near ground level. If being lopped down to a stump isn’t bad enough, dirt is then heaped on top of the remaining stump.

The damage and humiliation suffered by the tree actually creates an environment where the remaining, seemingly dead stump, is primed and ready to shoot out new root sprouts. Different from the coppicing method, where wood is harvested, these new shoots form their own root systems which allows the tree farmer to separate the new growth as whole rooted plants. These can be planted and will grow into healthy trees on their own.

The new shoots from a stump bed won’t simply become new trees. They will be actual clones of the original tree. Using the tree stump bed method creates clones of the mother plant. The new trees are identical to the original. While this cutting and piling on the dirt technique seems harsh to the mother tree, it can propagate a great supply of fruitful trees. One stool bed, one stump, could supply an entire orchard.


There are times people experience “cutting away” in their lives. Pruning happens, but sometimes the cutting goes beyond a branch here or there, leaving what seems only a stump of what used to be. Our dreams. Our plans. Relationships. The “axe” wields shocking pain with each stroke that chips away our trunks and crowns one penetrating chuck at a time.

After the truncation, the soil of shame, disappointment and grief can heap on the severed stump adding insult to injury. If you or someone you love has experienced the cutting and felt the soil of grief, shame and embarrassment falling in your face afterwards, and you have wondered what in the world is going on, know that wounds do not mean the end of you. You can bud, blossom and grow again.

Remember Job’s words. “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease” (Job: 14:7).

If there is hope for a tree, there is hope for thee!

Not only can you grow again, but the new shoots that spring forth from your “stump” can actually increase you from the single “tree” you once were. You can be “cloned” and multiplied! The new root sprouts can be split off as saplings that have the potential to propagate an orchard of fruitful trees!

If you have read the end of Job’s story, you know the last part of his life was greater than the first, even factoring in the incredible losses he suffered. How could this happen? Because a tree that is cut down may look dead, but hidden inside, placed there by the Creator, are dormant buds, unseen within the stump, just waiting for water and the chance to grow again.

To order a full copy of the ebook,The Scent of Hope, [click here] for immediate download,


About LoriWagner

Lori Wagner is the best-selling author of 15 books, with over 50,000 copies sold. Her works include The Pure Path Series (discipleship/Christian growth for girls), The Briar Hollow Series (historical fiction), and "Holy Intimacy." Her most recent projects include Orbis, a board game, and "Wisdom is a Lady," a small-group resource that includes video teaching sessions.  Lori is a licensed minister, a Purpose Institute Campus Administrator, and serves as the Michigan District Prayer Coordinator for the World Network of Prayer. She has served as the Michigan State Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer and is an elected representative in her community for five terms.  
Click Here To Download "Holy Intimacy" Ebook By Lori Wagner