The Strength of Redwoods

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Kelly and I have always wanted to travel west and visit the many beautiful national parks. I can't imagine what it would be like to stand next to the mighty redwoods, looking up at all their splendor.  Did you know that the giant California redwood trees can tower 300 feet into the sky? It would seem that they would require extremely deep roots to anchor them against strong winds. But we're told that their roots are actually quite shallow -- in order to capture as much water on the surface as possible. And they spread in all directions, intertwining with other redwoods.

If you have ever seen a Colorado aspen tree, you may have noticed that it does not grow alone. Aspens are found in clusters, or groves. The reason is that the aspen sends up new shoots from the roots. In a small grove, all of the trees may actually be connected by their roots.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a pretty independent person.  It is a strength and a weakness.  Yes, I might have crawled on my hands and feet, broken foot and all, to get the things I need to prevent someone from getting for me.  Maybe I go without, simply because I want to prove that I don't need it or can make it on my own.  I have always considered this a good quality.  I thought it meant I was strong.

In recently weeks I am beginning to see that standing alone doesn't always make one strong.  What I am coming to learn is that God never intended us to do it alone.   Even from the beginning God looked out and said that it was not good for man to be alone, and thus Eve came into the world to be a helper (Genesis 2).  God set us up to need people to work together.  Even Jesus himself had the help of others to support him in his ministry (Luke 8:1-3).  Paul traveled with many people who helped him as well.  

Faith is more than just doing things on our own, it's learning to put faith in God and others.  It is making our roots intertwine with those around us, to draw strength and grow strong.  This lesson we are learning as we speak-- as we seek to do what seems impossible to us.  We see a mountain to climb and the only way to get their is to ask friends and family to come aboard. There is no strength in being alone, but by leaning on others.  Our strength comes first from God (Psalms 121:1-2) and then from others.

Locked together in this way, all the trees support each other in wind and storms. Like the aspen, they never stand-alone. They need one another to survive.  It does take faith to whether the storms alone, but sometimes it takes greater faith to reach out and trust others to weather them with you.

I pray as the weeks go on our roots continue to grow so embedded with those around us that it is not our ministry or about what we are doing,but the roots make those around us stand tall and they see the beauty in what they are doing.  We all need each other, but the hardest part is learning to ask.

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