Thought- In the Mountains, the trees on the ridge are the strongest because they are most exposed to the elements.
Scripture- “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4
Insight: Have you ever been walking in the Mountains and come to a ridge, and see the majesty and size and strength of the trees that grow there? They look different than the ones that exist in the protected forest. Why is that? It is because they have been strengthened over years of adversity, by being exposed to the toughest elements and conditions. In their location, there are only two options: wither and die or persevere, survive and grow stronger. In the Bible, the strongest trees are referred to as the Cedars of Lebanon, and they are used in some instances to project strength and might in our faith.
I think when I look at how God molds us as His followers, this is a good analogy to remember. He often will let us experience painful trials and tribulations, not to crush us but to grow us stronger by relying more on Him as the Ultimate Source of all strength. We don’t like it at the time, but in hindsight we can see how it made us stronger in our character and our faith. In fact, little by little God will remove the parts of us that still have too much self-pride, comfort and sufficiency from our lives. This can be painful, but it can also be cathartic as it frees up more space for His Spirit to rush int our lives and give us more freedom from the things that bind us, whether we know or admit them or not, so that we can live out being the greatest, most loving versions of ourselves possible on this side of eternity. Adversity can either crush us, or like the trees on the ridge, it can grow us and make us stronger. Ask God to guide you and strengthen you through the storms of life, so you can emerge unshakeable in your faith.
Prayer: Father God, we admit we don’t like adversity, struggles, trials and tribulations, but help us learn to see the bigger motive you have in allowing them in our lives so we can grow stronger by moving closer to you in full dependence. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen!