Psalm 96: 11,12 “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;”
Have you ever driven through the magnificent Redwood National Forest in northern California? As you gazed at those majestic 350 foot tall trees towering above you, you probably thought as I did, Man, their roots must tunnel 50 ft. into the earth!
Amazingly, that’s not the case. Their roots are only a few feet deep! So what’s to prevent them from toppling over and being destroyed when diaster strikes?
As Christians we can learn valuable lessons from the Redwoods by copying their support system when trials occur in our lives.
1. The tree’s root structure supports each other by interlocking their shallow roots with the other Redwoods surrounding them. When under duress, the older trees buttress each other by developing roots on the downward side of those under stress. The younger trees are bolstered up by the older ones, thus supporting the younger generation.
When we know someone is struggling to become healthier in mind, body and spirit, do we encourage or hinder them? Do we strengthen them with the Word of God or allow them to struggle on their own? Can we uphold them by sharing our experiences, offering wise counsel or a church home? Do so.
2. When exposed to fire, these trees develop a heat shield. The charring of the bark actually makes them stronger!
Have life experiences strengthened you? Some of you have gone through the worst that man can dish out; drug, mental or sexual abuse, abandonment, cancer or other health obstacles, but you’re inwardly strong and still standing!
3. A fallen Redwood will ultimately branch out and grow. Still useful; its roots become other trees.
Never give up simply because you get knocked down! Overcoming adversity and temptation makes us stronger, wiser and more confident. Use those life skills to help others because God bestowed them to you for a reason.
Just as in life, some young trees won’t survive, but many more do because of the support of older trees. Young Redwoods are more vulnerable, just like young Christians. Even Billy Graham rebelled as a youth. He didn’t become Billy Graham overnight. We should therefore “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 And it doesn’t necessarily have to be your own child. There might be a young protege’, Sunday School child, niece, nephew, someone who comes into your store regularly, who looks up to you and wonders why you’re special. Tell them.
4. Surprisingly, the chemical composition of the bark is distasteful and even poisonous to termites and other pests! Let’s also develop ‘Bodily Armour of God’ so strong that even the demons don’t dare to bother us!
5. Which brings me to my last point. The bark of the Redwood is a foot thick! We need to develop thicker skin when we are criticized as being “too Christian.” The only one we need to impress is our Lord. Fire and man are the Redwoods only natural enemies, similar to trials and worldly temptations for Christians. Will you stand fast or give in?
So why am I telling you this? This week’s focus is on surrounding yourself with positive influences. Because if you’re attempting a healthier lifestyle, you can’t do it alone no matter how strong and powerful you feel you are. Everyone needs a support system. Find someone to be your Champion – someone to hold you accountable, to walk with, encourage, motivate and celebrate your victories with.
Develop a Personal Support System as Strong as a Redwood Forest!