Endure the Storm

I missed my 35th high school reunion. A high school classmate tracked me down on social media to find out what I was doing. She ended her message with these words: “I’m wheelchair bound now. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is winning.” On the same day, I was traveling with a friend to an event in North Carolina. We had just arrived at Fort Caswell Baptist Assembly right on the Atlantic Ocean. We rounded a bend and a tree captivated my attention. I asked my friend to take a picture of the tree because it told a story.

It was easy to see the plant had weathered storm upon storm. Undoubtedly hurricane-force winds tried time and time again to uproot the tree. Yet she stood firm. Although you can clearly observe the effects of sustained assaults, the tree refused to relinquish her place.

I thought about my classmate, her admission, and how to respond. Here’s what I wrote: “I am very sorry for the struggles you are facing related to MS. I can’t begin to imagine how incredibly hard that must be. It seems the older I get, the less confident I am in my knowledge about life. Yet I know this with all my heart: we have a heavenly Father Who loves and cares for us even in dark times when we feel hopeless. I offer this prayer tonight along with a promise to continue to pray.”

 Even as God brought her to mind, I thought about that tree still standing. I prayed, asking God to give her peace when difficult health decisions had to be made. When she was exhausted, I asked God to help her keep going. When her resolve faltered, I asked God to give her strength.

What insights can we gain studying this picture that can help us withstand the storms of life? With a little research, I discovered trees with damaged root systems are particularly vulnerable during storms. Roots anchor a tree. As a Christ follower, you must have deep roots evidenced by your consistent walk with God.

Pruned trees are less likely to be destroyed during hurricanes. No one cherishes the thought of being pruned. But pruning is necessary for both protection and growth. When we endure the painful process of pruning, we are able to bear more fruit.

Trees planted in groups have a better chance of surviving storms than trees standing alone. It is the same for us. Surround yourself with prayer warriors and accountability partners who can speak openly and honestly into your life.


Father,

Be near us during the storms of life. When the tempest rails, hide us in the shelter of Your wings. We can endure floods and pass through the waters if You are with us. We need not fear. You are the Lord our God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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