To be as Strong as a Tree
Have you ever observed a tree swaying and violently shaking in a strong storm? If not, after you read this you may see a tree in a whole different light.
Not long ago, as I was going through one of the many storms in my life, the Lord reminded me of something I once observed during a violent storm. During one of our worse hurricane seasons, I observed a tree in the midst of the menacing storm. I watched how the wind swayed and bent the tree to a point where I thought it was going to snap and break. As I watched, I couldn't help feeling sorry for this beautiful tree but at the same time I also felt great admiration for it and found myself thinking "hang on my friend, it will soon be over!"
I reflected to that time, as the Lord spoke to me and encouraged me in my present situation and I learned something valuable that to-date I have not forgotten. In a powerful storm the tree is pruned, sort-of-speak, by the strong winds and loses many of its leaves and branches. Often times the tree does bend, but amazingly does not break. Sometimes it not only loses leaves and branches but diseased areas and harmful insects as well. If the storm is fierce enough and the tree does break, within a short time new sprouts of life will begin to form and grow because the foundation of the tree was never destroyed.
If you stop long enough to think about this, you would marvel at this creation and how God can use this as a valuable lesson in the powerful storms in our lives. The tree begins as a tiny fragile plant, as it grows the roots would spread and grasp the soil deep within the earth. If the tree receives the nourishment it needs through the process of sunlight, soil, and water, it would grow strong and healthy and will withstand disease and many more storms. Throughout its life, if the tree continues to receive all the nourishment it needs, the roots will become deeply rooted and the tree will continue to grow stronger making it more resilient; however, if the tree lacks the nourishment it needs, it will become sick, not grow, and eventually dry out and die.
Sometimes storms will come our way, sway and bend us, and at times even break us leaving us bare and almost defeated. And, although sometimes the storms may seem relentless and violent, and darkness seems to want to swallow us, we, like the tree, can withstand and overcome the storms if we have Jesus in our lives. Jesus is our foundation. If we walk and live by the Word of God each day, we receive the nourishment that is needed to continue to grow strong in our faith.
When our faith is strong, the storms will only serve to prune us and help us grow stronger, branching out and extending to new heights. Just as a nourished tree can grow and branch out to provide shelter, shade, and even medicine to humans and animals alike, so can we grow strong in the Lord when we nourish ourselves with His Word.
When we grow in the Lord, the storms are only a tool God uses to help refine and mature us as Christians. And, when we mature as Christians, the Lord can then use us to be a blessing to others when they are going through storms in their lives. However, when we fail to do as the Lord commands and neglect to have a relationship with Him, we too can become sick, not grow, and eventually dry out and die… just as the unnourished tree.
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13)