Nothing in this world is by accident or happenstance. God doesn't do anything without a purpose, or and end result in mind.
Think of the “end” God had in mind when He created the giant Sequoia Redwoods. These giant trees live on the slopes of the Sierra Nevadas and up the West coast of North America. They are the largest, and among the oldest living things on Earth. It takes 2,000 to 3,000 years to reach maturity. Some trees may be as old as 5,000 years. Their seeds can be traced all the way back to the dinosaurs. (1)
You’d think that this huge tree would grow from an enormous seed. Instead, each tree begins with a tiny winged seed, an eighth of an inch in size! The size of a tomato seed! (Wow, talk about not despising small beginnings.)
Sequoias rely on fire to release most seeds from their cones, and to expose bare mineral soil in which seedlings can take root, to recycle nutrients, and open holes in the forest canopy for sunlight to reach young seedlings. (2)
When I think of the ‘fires’ I’ve gone through in life the story of the sequoia seed breathes enormous hope.
There’s nothing that preaches a flourishing life quite as powerfully as a solid joyful heart in the midst of pain. God promises to carry us through the trials in life. But beyond giving us the grace to endure, He promises grace to flourish and grow despite the trial.
In the book of James, we are challenged us to “count it all joy” when we face trials. But, it’s not the pain and suffering that is joyful, not the trials themselves. It’s the vital role that trials play in the life of a believer.
Steadfastness doesn’t grow during happy times. It grows when we’re pressed, pushed, challenged and at the end of ourselves. Just as the fire clears the path for the tiny sequois seed to sprout, trials clear a path for us to deepen our roots in the soil of His love. They tend to eliminate all competition for our attention and force us to press-in to God.
The seeds of the sequoia grow inside embryonic flowers at the end of the branches. Just as our steadfastness grows from the flower of our faith in the midst of hard times.
There’s so much we can learn from trees. The whole of nature drips with the Word of God, ready to teach us the minute we stop, look, and take the time to listen.
Blessings on you, dear friends, I hope you’re putting your roots down in the soil of His love today.
This is an exerpt from my coming new book:
Flourishing in God—A Message From the Trees
The Redwoods https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/shirley/sec7.htm
2. Why the Giant Sequoia Needs Fire to Grow