The Trees

There once was a man who planted two small groves of trees. He wanted to do an experiment because he saw trees in nature growing fine on their own without the assistance of a tree farmer. Some trees appeared to be stronger and healthier than the trees in his grove that he attended to so carefully.

The first grove that he planted he watered, fertilized, pulled weeds, and checked for bugs that could destroy the trees. Many of the small saplings that were thin and frail he even put supports around to help hold them up while they were growing. At the same time he planted another grove of trees. He watched over them, but did nothing to intervene in their growth. If it rained they received water and if it didn’t the ground grew dry. No supports were placed around the saplings and he just waited to see what would happen.

After a year the trees were taller than the man. They were still young and thin but they had nice branches and green leaves. Both of the groves appeared to be doing well. There didn’t seem to be any difference between the two groves of trees. Then one night a terrible storm came. The wind was blowing fiercely and the tree farmer lay awake in bed worried for his trees. He listened to the winds blowing and the rain beating down upon his roof as the lightning flashed and the thunder roared.

The next morning he hurriedly dressed and ran out the door to inspect his trees and what he saw puzzled him greatly! The trees he had tended to so carefully had fared much worse than those that didn’t receive care. Numerous amounts of leaves were stripped off by the storm. Some of the branches were broken and many of the trees in his well-attended grove were totally uprooted. When he went to the second grove to inspect the trees that were left to the elements, he also observed that many leaves had been blown off and some branches were broken. However, to the tree farmer’s amazement, every tree was still standing firm!

This puzzled the man greatly, so he began to dig deeper, literally! He got a shovel from his shed and dug around some of the trees in his well-supervised grove and he saw that all of their roots were very close to the surface where he had been watering them every day. Then he went to the other grove of trees and began to dig and as he did he observed that the trees’ roots had grown very deep into the ground because they were looking for sources of water below them. Most of the roots went down and spread out bigger than the tree itself.

The farmer sat on his porch puzzled by the situation. As he looked over the two groves of trees, it was then that he realized he had done the second grove of trees a favor by withholding his undivided attention. The trees that he had pampered and took care of every day were now uprooted and destroyed. He began to look back over his life and as he pondered he saw that it was during the hard times of trial that his own roots of faith had really grown deep. These were the times he had reached out to God and dug into his Holy Word for answers to get him through. It was then that he had grown the most, even though he disliked those hard times.

During the times of heartache, he had grown a heart of compassion for other people who had suffered loss and pain because he knew what it was like. During the storms of life, he had to choose whether to sink or swim. His faith had grown strong from reaching out and holding on. Just as a weight lifter’s muscles grow strong as he works his way up to bearing more weight, the farmer saw how his spiritual muscles had grown strong from bearing the weight of adversity.

The farmer again thought of his trees. The trees whose roots had stayed on the surface had been uprooted during the storm, but the trees with the deep roots were able to withstand the storm and survive. The farmer knew that if the branches weren’t strong enough, when the fruit comes in, the branches would break and the tree would suffer loss. The farmer saw the parallel in his own life. He realized that he was wiser because of the storms he had been through and his faith had grown deeper. He had planted God’s Word like seed in the soil of his heart. He received the living water of the Spirit and he was abiding in the vine and bearing fruit for others to enjoy. The Bible tells us in John 15 verses 5 and 7 that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and if we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, we will bear much fruit. Only then will our lives become fruitful and meaningful as we grow, develop, and expand in our faith.

It is easy when everything in life is going our way but when things get tough and hard, like the dry ground, many surface Christians fall away and lose their faith in God. If we are doers of the Word and not hearers only, when the storms of life come, we will be shaken but we will not be uprooted. God doesn’t always calm the storm, sometimes he calms us during the storm. It is not about the intensity of the storm or how long it lasts, it’s about our determination to hang on and ride it out. We can be victorious if we will learn to trust God and dance in the rain during the storm. Just like a loving parent, God knows when to rush in and help, and He knows some things have to be learned by going through them. God never promises us that we will not walk through hardship in this life, but He does promise that He will always walk through it with us. He will never leave us and He will never forsake us.

The tree farmer humbly bowed his head and began to thank God for always being there for him. Even though there had been a few storms in his life that he would have loved to have avoided and he would never want to go through them again, he also realized that he would never want to trade what he had learned through these trying times. It was then that he realized that the storms had made him who he was today. He was a stronger, wiser, and more compassionate man because of them. His deeply-rooted faith had sustained him along the journey and his life had become more fruitful.

You will be like a tree planted by rivers of living water. You will bring forth fruit in season. Your leaf will not wither and whatever you do will prosper (see Psalms 1:3).

 

Dig a little deeper:

Matthew 7:24-27
John 7:37-39
Galatians 5:22-26
Matthew 13:20-21

 

 

 

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