Psalm 16:8: “I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.“
I have been reaching out to coworkers at my old job to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving recently, since I don’t get to speak with them now with as much or as frequency as I once did. And one co-worker was especially encouraged by a family member that had made some notable growth in maturity this year. I look at many of the struggles and challenges that friends and family face with tyrant toddlers, hormonal teens, mid-life crisis suffering 40 year olds, aging parents, etc. and I can’t help but look at how my own life has applied pressure and strain on my parents, my wife, my daughter, my closest friends, my co-workers — in those times where my life has seemingly left the rails and collided into their perfect little world, requiring their attention and help.
Isn’t this what relationships actually look like — being there for one another and weathering the storms together?
And doesn’t this weathering together and making our way through the dormant winters, through the long days plowing and planting in the spring, through the long days tending weeds during the summer, and through the long days of abundant harvest in the autumn — doesn’t it make for a beautiful journey?
I think of the strongest trees, and how they grow a lot more under the soil, establishing a firm foundation before they start making real headway up into the skies. Some of us can’t imagine a tree as big as General Sherman — rising 275 feet into the air, measuring 100 feet at the ground, and weighing an estimated 2.7 million pounds. Did you know that giant sequoia tree seeds are among the tiniest in the tree world? Doesn’t that make you wonder what God might have in store for you or your loved one whose life seems to be a hot mess right now? Isn’t it amazing how God works like that?
This morning, I’m especially grateful that He not only weathers the storms with us, but there is a purpose for us going through the seasons. I’m sure there were strong winds that easily pushed General Sherman around and swayed that tree this way or that way when it was young — but it’s anchor held. It’s foundation was firm. It’s roots ran deep. And those prevailing winds blowing against the tree influenced the growth of every branch, but they did not prevent the branches from growing strong and firm and unmovable over time.
This to me is a great encouragement for my life’s purpose and direction. It doesn’t give me an excuse to just let the wind blow me wherever it pleases — it gives me an assurance that no matter what the day holds that He has proven time and time again that I can trust Him — even in those times where I wasn’t trusting Him, wasn’t seeking Him — even in those times where I was clearly acting in opposition and making myself an enemy of God. It makes me grateful. It establishes that right relationship and attitude that allows me to enter into His presence, humble and in awe of Him.
Do you feel shaken, bent, torn and wearied by the winds of this season? Don’t let shame in self take hold — grab hold of the all sustaining one who promises that in our weaknesses His strength will be made evident!
Do you feel like you should be further along than you are? Don’t worry about what your eyes can see — you don’t know how deep your roots are spreading underneath in order to prepare you for what lies ahead!
Do you feel cold, dormant and still? Spring has not yet sprung — let your body rest like a tree whose sap has returned to its roots for a season of hibernation in order to prepare you for the explosion of new growth that is in store.
Do you feel overwhelmed by so much activity and busyness — do your best at what you can while the work is at hand, but do not worry about tomorrow, there is enough work at hand for today.
Do you know what makes a tree unshakable? Weight. So don’t fear the heaviness in your life — see it as an opportunity to praise the Lord even the greater. Remember, His never-failing promises are greater than our momentary “feelings”. So we can REJOICE!!!
Thank you Lord for allowing us to thank you frequently for your many blessings, your grace, your favor, and your hand upon our every step, our every breath. Thank you for this wild journey through this foreign land on our way home to You. Amen.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2 ESV