What Makes Us Strong?

leaves-195672_1920My son, Grady, and I were walking through a large stand of timber one fall evening on our way to sit in a tree stand. We were bear hunting, and the wind was gusting through the trees. Back and forth, these massive Western Larch, or as we called them, “Buckskin Tamarack,” creaked and moaned with each blast of wind. Grady’s young eyes darted back and forth, watching the ominous treetops as they responded to the winds demands.

“Are you ok, buddy?” I asked Grady. “Dad, are those trees gonna snap off and kill us?” he asked.

Smiling, I explained to him that we were safe, and that the wind, in some ways, was good for the trees, especially the younger ones. He gave me a puzzled look as we processed further. The trees will respond to the wind by growing stronger and sending their roots deeper. In some ways, all plant life needs weather to survive, even bad weather.

A bit puzzled still, he shot back a great question, “So, its like they are getting exercise for trees?” “You got it, son!” I said.

The wind and weather press the trees to survive and will also kill off the weaker or dying trees to help the forest remain healthy. So, in some ways, the gusts of wind are a day at the gym for the forest.

My winemaker friend once told me that grapevines produce better fruit when the plant has to struggle for water or nutrients. The roots will go deeper, and in the long term, the plant will be healthier. Consistently in nature, God built a system where health comes from testing, pressure or stretching. It’s almost as if God knows what He is doing, isn’t it?

In my walk with Christ, trials and even mild persecution has crossed my path.   There were days when I hated it, and found myself wanting to withdraw and self-protect. I wanted to stand up, and yell, “Hey God, I do not like this! Will you please make it stop?” Yet, in my protest, Jesus reminds me that I am blessed when trials come, and I should also be joyful in them.

James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”

Those gusts of wind in our lives will help us grow deeper. The difficult days that life sends at us will require us to have deep roots. Otherwise, we will not produce fruit or be able to stand strong. Even when I want to creak and moan, much like my favorite tree the Buckskin Tamarack, I instead choose to trust God. HE wants my roots to grow deep!

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