We no longer felt safe in our own yards.
A few months ago, gale-force winds ravaged our region. Falling trees downed power lines, blocked roads, smashed into homes.
After the storm tens of thousands coped without power for days, in freezing weather. Tree limbs newly weighted with snow continued to snap.
Without realizing it, I’d counted on our trees to stand firm, never questioned my unspoken faith in them.
We lost several trees. Our fifty-foot Douglas Fir fell northward, but it missed the garage.
For weeks its dead weight pressed against other, smaller trees.
Would they recover? Or were they already maimed for life?
An early thaw exposed roots shockingly meager for an evergreen this size, a joke of a rootball. No wonder the tree toppled.
Viewing the damage, I wondered: Am I sufficiently rooted in my faith to withstand potential upheaval?
(Or, metaphorically speaking): Is this dubious root system a self-portrait?
Three months later
Today the work crew arrives. Young and seemingly fearless, their courage has likely developed, over time, through shared experience plus faith—in their tools, their trade, and each other.
They start with a different tree, a Ponderosa pine still standing but past saving. One fellow shinnies up the trunk, and he lops off two-thirds of the limbs.
I do not see him heft the chainsaw above his head, but I hear the almighty crash. I look out the window and see the massive treetop covering our lawn.
How did he brace himself against all that force spreading down the trunk?
How much nerve plus skill plus faith ensured that the plummeting treetop cleared our roof?
And how would the roots of this tree compare to the pitiful root system of our Douglas Fir? (The pine stump remains, so I’ll never know.)
Rather than cutting the remaining two-thirds of the trunk into firewood, suppose the crew turns it into a telephone pole.
Utility workers would later bury one-third of its length in the ground (visually, the equivalent of the lopped treetop).
That hefty third would anchor the height with a far better percentage than our Doug Fir’s wannabe rootball. In its new life as a pole, the skinned pine would likely stand for another fifty years.
Maybe endurance is partly a matter of proportion.
Will efforts to better ground my life deepen my faith?
Better by far to be grounded deep in God’s faithfulness.
An enduring faith
Deeply embedded, this utility pole looms over fallen boughs. Standing tall, it keeps doing its work, the faithful bearer of power and light.
This will sound crazy, but: If I were a power pole, roughly twenty-two inches of me would be safely interred in the dirt. You’d see me from middish-thigh to the crown of my head. (Goodbye, leg-shaving razors and dancing shoes; hello, bedrock security.)
Unmoved by raging winds, I’d be anchored, grounded, and grateful: a glad bearer of God’s power and light.
Is that your desire? You may feel maimed, even stricken past the point of recovery.
No matter what’s shaking your hope, or uprooting your peace, take heart. The apostle Paul’s advice stands, even today:
“. . . continue to live in [Christ],
rooted and built up in him,
strengthened in the faith as you were taught,
and overflowing in thankfulness.”
—Col. 2:6-7 NIV
MAKING IT PERSONAL:
If you were a tree, what form would you take? Why?