Picture a mighty oak tree that’s small enough to fit on a kitchen table. That’s what a bonsai looks like—a beautiful ornamental tree that’s a miniature version of what you find wild in nature. There’s no genetic difference between a bonsai and its full-size counterpart. It’s simply that a shallow pot, pruning, and root trimming restrict growth, so the plant remains small.
While bonsai trees make for wonderful decorative plants, they also illustrate the power of control. It’s true that we can manipulate their growth as the tree responds to its environment. But God is ultimately the One who makes things grow.
God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel this way: “I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall” (Ezekiel 17:19). God was foreshadowing future events when he would “uproot” the nation of Israel by allowing the Babylonians to invade. In the future, however, God would plant a new tree in Israel that would bear fruit, with “birds of every kind” finding shelter in the shade of its branches (v. 23). God said that no matter how much upcoming events seemed out of control, He was still in charge.
The world tells us to try to control our circumstances by manipulation and through our own hard work. But true peace and thriving are found by relinquishing control to the only One who can make the trees grow.