Flourishing Faith

By Paula Friedrichsen

Our condominium project has well-landscaped grounds, thanks to a professional gardener who keeps everything looking green and lovely. Besides the well-maintained grassy areas and flower gardens, numerous pine trees planted over fifteen years ago have grown beautifully and thrived. Except one. And unfortunately, the exception happens to be right out my kitchen window.

At first appearance, the tree appears fine, standing straight and proud and looking as though it could last another fifteen years. You would never know there was a problem unless you lived here and saw the drama played out each winter. Because this tree was planted in a poor location, the ability of the root system to grow deep has been impeded. So every time our infamous Crowley winds start to howl, this unstable tree starts to fall.

The gardener has made numerous noble attempts to save the tree, propping it back up and tying it to anything stable in the vicinity. But all to no avail - the next time the winds blow, the tree topples over again. And of course, now that the root system has been so weakened, the poor tree cannot take even a moderate wind without succumbing. In addition to this, we have to carefully water our fragile tree because without a healthy and developed root system it has no adequate way to get the moisture it so desperately needs.

The on-going saga with our pine tree reminds me of a Bible passage: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." 1

I see myself in the analogy of the tree. When I am careful to cultivate my relationship with the Lord, placing my trust and confidence fully in him, I'm not easily disturbed or shaken by the storms of life. God provides a solid and unmovable peace that abides in my heart and mind as I keep my eyes on him.

But there have also been times in my life when I was just like that weakened pine tree, unable to stand even the slightest wind of opposition or oppression without toppling. What a frustrating and unstable feeling that is! But thank God, I don't have to stay in that state of fear and vulnerability! There is strength and protection when I put my trust in the Lord.

When things are going smoothly in our lives it's easy to be lulled into thinking that pursuing and cultivating a relationship with Christ can be put off for a later time. And then WHAM, a huge storm comes rolling into our lives and we're left regretting that we didn't allow our roots to go deeper.

If you find yourself in the same position as our crippled pine tree, put your roots down deep by seeking God in a more determined way, giving number one priority to cultivating a personal relationship with your Creator. It may take some time, but eventually your root system will strengthen and you will be like a flourishing tree planted by streams of living water.

Paula Friedrichsen is a Christian Speaker and Freelance Writer living in Mammoth Lakes, CA. To find out more information about her ministry visit her website at www.pfministries.com

Do you know God personally? Read:
Peace with God

1. The Bible, Jeremiah 17:7-8



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