Okay, so now I know what “sustained 85-mile-an-hour” winds do to a city.
One hospital lost quite a few windows and another about half their roof. Minor really, considering the winds had tornadic tendencies.
Our own neighborhood is still without power and has quite a few downed trees.
As I replay the force of Wednesday night’s storm, I see lots of similarities between it and the sudden, unforeseen crises that arise in our daily lives.
1. Just as shallowly rooted trees are easily blown over by forceful winds, a lightweight spiritual life can’t endure the intense trials of life.
The uprooted trunks I saw all had something in common: no depth of root. Sometimes, there was evidence of disease, but more often than not, it was just a lack of intentional watering. Our semi-arid climate only receives about eighteen inches of rain a year, so healthy trees must grow deep to find the water needed in-between rains.
Spiritually, if I am not intentionally growing deep, then I am not adequately preparing for life’s pending difficulties. Every life will have the storms – that’s a given (Matthew 7:24-27). It’s what we do for the years before the tempest that will determine it’s outcome. Just going to church and reading occasional inspirational thoughts won’t be sufficient to support us through the storm. Strong roots require tapping into the Spirit daily.
Strength comes from sustained Presence-seeking, not from sporadic fuzzy feelings.
2. Sustained high winds naturally prune dead branches.
In my own backyard, I noticed that much of the mess I cleaned up were dead branches. It’s much easier to snap a lifeless twig off a tree than it is to remove one filled with sap.
God gives us lots of chances to get rid of the fruitless portions of our lives, but too often, we are too attached to our fruitlessness and decide to just camouflage it. Yet, our Holy Gardener is never fooled by the leaves of our good works.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).
Allowing His pruning shears into our life is a much more delicate way toward fruitfulness. Don’t resist for so long that He must send a violent storm.
3. Trees whose trunks are Y-shaped – separating just inches off the ground into two large branches – are disasters waiting to happen.
Just as large oak tree needs a strong central trunk on which the rest of the tree can rest, our souls need the strength of knowing clearly Whom they will serve (Joshua 24:15). When we easily allow fleshly diversions to our thoughts, it is as if we are allowing the strength of our lives to be divided into two loyalties. “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). We must “take care what (we) listen to” (Mark 4:24), so that our strength can be sourced from One hardy Power.
What have you learned from life’s storms?
P.S. As my speaking schedule picks up, I am going to cut back on M-F posting. Beginning next week (June 9th-15th, 2013), I will post twice a week on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. May the Lord continue to speak to all of us as He reveals His heart on this site.