A friend of mine repeated a sermon she heard Sunday at her church in Nashville, and it resonated with me. Remember when scientists were researching the concept of building an atmosphere for living on another planet? I don't recall a lot about it, but that doesn't mean much. My memory is just coming back after a long few months of forgetfulness.
These people set up a protected eco-system and lived within that system. They planted gardens for food, trees to produce oxygen, developed all they needed in that protected environment. The trees grew, the gardens grew, and everything was going along just fine until, quite some time into the growing process, the trees broke.
Without the trees, there was nothing to convert the carbon dioxide, and so the experiment had to be discarded. Research showed them why they lost their trees--in that protected atmosphere, there was no wind. Without wind, the trees weren't forced to dig deep roots, and the wood wasn't forced to grow strong. Weakened by lack of stress, the trees couldn't hold their own weight.
What an epiphany for me! Our sermon last Sunday night was about forgiveness. All of us have been hurt by people we care about--and some people we don't care about. We're left to pick up pieces we didn't break, and yet we're expected to forgive. I know the solid answer for that is that we forgive for our own good, so we don't turn bitter. Perhaps, however, it goes deeper than that. When God allows us to be hurt, maybe we should consider that the wind of God may be blowing in our lives. If the wind doesn't blow, we aren't going to grow strong, our roots don't dig as deeply, and our lives will be breakable.
If we become rooted in the Holy Spirit and the Word of God instead of in the anger and pain brought on by others, our roots will hold fast when true hardship comes, and our strength will come from the words of God. I hate the pain and hardship in my life, and would, of course, never bring it on myself if I could prevent it. God, however, sees to it that I'm tested. Those whom He loves, He chastens. We can't thrive as Christians if we live in a protected bubble all our lives. Sometimes I even find myself thanking Him for my trials. Not often, but sometimes.
Have you done that recently? What hardships has He brought your way, either through the meanness of others, or through life stressors, that have made you strong enough to cope with life?
Labels: deep roots, enduring hardship, Good stress