The Trials That Shape Our Lives

Cody Rock and Tree

The tree was growing straight, pointing to the sky. Then it came upon an obstacle that forced alteration in its growth. Or the tree was impacted by something that pressed upon it, so much so, that it had to bend out of shape in order to maintain its upward path. This tree has always impressed me ever since I first observed it when I was a child. It is still doing the job of holding back the rock from rolling down the hill.

I do not know which came first, the tree standing tall and the rock tumbling down the hillside till it met the tree or the rock precariously perched on the hillside with a tree growing in its shadow till it found the upward path impeded by the rock, then continuing its growth around the obstacle. The growth of the tree has been slow. I remember seeing it in the 1960’s wondering if it would break and the rock would roll into the highway further down the hillside. Last month, I saw that the tree is still carrying the burden of holding the rock.

In life, some people carry burdens that others do not know. We all have trials but some of us have thorns that will never leave, always there, always being seen, always bring pain with varying intensities, sometimes festering into grievous wounds. Trials shape us as we go through them. Thorns focus on our weaknesses, often bringing discouragement and despair. It is in these moments when things look darkest, that we must turn to the Lord. He gives strength and ability to cope moment by moment. His power is made known in weakness.

Our lives are sharpened by the trials of life. How we deal with them will be the evidence of our character. Do we depend upon the Lord to give enablement even when pressed upon by a rock that will never go away? Or do we see God’s mighty power and strength as we continue to grow through the trial or while we carry the thorns which will never leave?

This tree has been an encouragement to me. I want to keep growing even though the trials of life may bend me out of shape. I want to stand tall with my God through whatever comes.

The Lord is our strength, our refuge. Pour out your heart before Him. The Psalmist said that He trusted in the Lord and he was helped. God is a very present help in the time of trouble. God is our strength when the rocks press us out of shape. He gives the motivation and ability to grow upward even when deeply impacted by the storms of life.

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