Imagine with me for a moment a tree; but not just any tree: an old, giant one. Imagine that tree, still full of life in its old age, but look at its markings. As your eyes climb its trunk, take heed to each of its knobs and scars. What did this tree go through to receive each of its markings? What storms did this tree go through? How did a once little sapling grow into such marvelous, giant organism?
I can tell you that a tree does not grow by hiding itself away in a cave. Certainly it needs sunshine! The strongest of trees are ones that have stretched their branches high into the sun, soaking in its life giving warmth. Even stronger are the ones who have grown through the wind and storms. They cannot grow up on their own without the resources given to them; resources that cannot be provided by themselves.
In addition to these resources, a tree needs its roots. As a tree grows higher, it will catch more wind in its leaves and the wind’s will to knock it down grows stronger with every branch. To counteract this force, a tree grows roots that reach deep into the earth and grasp tight for dear life. It’s fascinating, and there’s a lot to be learned from these pieces of creation. It leads me to ask: how do we grow?
Our growth needs roots. When storms arise in your life, what do you hold to? Money comes and goes, looks are fleeting, and everything fades (even those muscles you’ve been working on at the gym). Colossians 2:6-7 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Ground yourself in Christ. Jesus promises us in John 15, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” What a gift, and it is all done for His glory.
Do we grow with strength of our own? Do we grow by hiding in our homes, waiting for something to happen? By no means! We grow in our trials as Christ moves and shapes us. As we step out onto our front porch, we welcome Christ to take us through daily life with Him, as He has promised to be present in our daily lives. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4.
There’s one more thing that makes a tree stronger: a community of trees around it. Their roots intertwine and end up supporting one another. Want to hear something great? This community mentality applies to us as well. As we go through trials together, we hold each other up and support one another, as we are all rooted and established in the love of Christ. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:17-19.