When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. The Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:14-17
Do you remember the big storm that blew through the Camden County area in June 2010? Residents say it was a tornado, officials never labeled it that. However, if you drove through the Berlin area, you certainly would say that a tornado blew through. Fencing ripped out of the ground, siding was missing from houses and some houses the homeowners had to leave because the upstairs floors collapsed! Chairs were thrown into windows. My friends’ shed was picked up and laid back down on the back, so the doors were facing the sky! Now that’s crazy and one fierce storm!
One of the things that kept rolling through my mind over and over back then was how I perceived some of the bigger trees to be strong and steady, not easily blown over when a storm came along. To my surprise, some of the biggest, most beautiful trees that seemed healthy to the untrained eye were split in half, toppled over, and destroyed. Some of the trees that weren’t destroyed were still damaged, missing branches and tree debris all over or just completely bent to the side, still to this day not standing upright.
Today, you will see a tree stump where once a big, beautiful tree stood. One of my favorite trees on the White Horse Pike has been diminished to a tree stump. The tree stood tall, towering over the house that shared the property. Every Christmas the owners decorated the tree with Christmas lights. It was beautiful, full of healthy branches and greens. Every time I drove by this tree, I always admired it. I was completely shocked when it was taken down, completely down, by this unofficial tornado storm. Now when I drive by all I see is this fallen down, split tree that no one was tending to.
All of these trees, healthy, beautiful, strong, broken, destroyed reminded me of people. I felt God speaking to my heart saying “Many of my people are like this, appearing strong on the outside but inside they are ready to fall apart when a storm comes their way. You may see these people at church or work, social events, and many more places. They say everything is ‘fine,’ but in reality they are not.” I wondered how many people were like this, standing tall, strong and giviving the impression of their beauty/masculinity and strength when really on the inside there is a storm going on and they are being kicked around, kicked down, thrown all over the place ready to split, ready to fall.
I wondered how long it would take for the broken and destroyed trees to be care for. When was someone going to come and clean them up? Many of the trees laid there for weeks, with no attention. I thought how many times has that happened to people?
The trees that were still standing but missing branches reminded me of how Jesus is the gardener and I am the tree. He trims my branches so I can continue to grow healthy. (John 15)
I think that’s why I love encouraging people so much. Because, really no matter how we perceive a person, sometimes we really don’t know the spiritual battle going on within them. I believe that is why it is so important to encourage people in God’s word. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2) So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Let’s Reflect: O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
PRAYER: Oh, Sovereign Lord, how great you are! Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Be with me, uplift me and fill me with your joy and peace. In the name of Jesus Christ.
Be Blessed…Be Bold in the name of Jesus!
Image source: Wikimedia Commons