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Posts Tagged ‘northern California’

The Coastal Redwoods found in Pacific Northwest are the largest, and among the oldest, living things in all creation.  Soaring in excess of 300 feet and with circumferences over 60 feet, these giants of the forest grace the steep slopes of the Pacific Coast for approximately 300 miles from south of San Francisco northward to southern Oregon.  I am visiting this area for the first time this week and thoroughly enjoying the beautiful scenery and lessons learned walking among giants.

Looking up in the Redwood Forest.

Looking up in the Redwood Forest.

On our morning in Klamath, California I woke early to visit the Father in the forest.  Redwoods grow in groves of dozens to hundreds of trees grouped together.  Interestingly, these massive trees do not have deep root systems.  The roots of a 300 foot tall tree will only go 8 feet or so into the soil.  However it will also spread some 500 feet around the base of the tree.  Trees in a grove will intertwine their roots as they spread creating a dense lattice work of roots and soaring trees joined together.  During winter storms with 60 mile per hour winds it is not unusual to see the tops of Redwood tress swaying 15 or more feet side to side and the earth at their base heaving 2 or 3 feet.  Yet because their roots are locked together they don’t topple over.  In fact they thrive.

In the same way, the people of God must be connected to one another in loving fellowship.  We are not made to do life alone.  We are made for godly community.

Another interesting fact about Redwoods is the importance of “tragic” events to their thriving.  Redwood lumber is amazing.  It is resistant to rot and insects and it has very good strength to weight characteristics.  For these reasons and more, Redwood harvesting was a major industry in California in the late 1800’s and into the mid 1900’s.  As timber harvesting became more prevalent and the excesses and damage of poor practices began to manifest themselves, conservation efforts began.  Naturalists were at first stumped with how to propagate these trees.  They had the seeds, but they couldn’t get them to germinate.  Then one year a major fire occurred and viola, the next year there were redwood seedlings everywhere.  It seems the seeds need the heat of the fire to cause them to burst open.

Life from the Roots.

Life from the Roots.

Perpetual twilight under these giant trees.

Perpetual twilight under these giant trees.

I see an obvious parallel in many people’s lives.  They live life trying just to survive, often wrapping themselves into various protective cocoons.  For those who achieve wealth and success, this provides a type of shield from the challenges of life.  For those with more modest means that barrier to life’s difficulties might be to immerse themselves in work, alcohol, or some hobby.  But life and true peace – deep, rich, and full, remains out of reach.  It is a hope or a dream.  Yet I have seen tragedy impact persons in the most amazing ways.  The Lord reaches into the depth of tragedy and brings life, growth, and hope.  Just like the redwood seeds, something painful becomes the pathway to life.

Another observation was the regrowth coming out of redwood stumps.  For the few redwoods that are damaged, many are able to start anew because of the life in the roots.  In fact, during the rainy season the roots of the Redwoods are able to store up to 150 gallons of water per day in anticipation of the coming dry season.  Therefore developing a robust root system is essential for the vitality and longevity of the Redwood.  For the believer this root system is reading and incorporating the Word into our life and learning to live in close communion with the Holy Spirit as our counselor.  Applying the Word by obeying what Jesus said is the best way to develop a root system that will sustain us during the droughts of life.

When we think of spiritual giants we will most often think of Moses, King David, Peter, Paul or a similar spiritual giant.  But the impression the Lord laid on my heart was the widow Jesus referred to for His disciples to consider.  Many persons had placed large sums into the temple treasury, but Jesus pointed out this poor, yet faith-filled, widow as their example.  She, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on.  How could she do that?  Because she trusted the Lord completely.  Her job was not to focus upon providing for her own needs, but to trust and obey the Lord.

When I return home shortly, I will return to tasks to be done, work to be caught up on, and future plans to be made.  But as I do so I will remember my walk among the giant redwoods.  And I will strive to remember that I walk among giants in faith when I allow the Word of God to fill me, when I apply its truths to my thoughts and actions, when I seek to know Jesus better and when I allow Him to live through me.   We walk among giants, my friend.  Keep the faith and, over time, the Lord will make us giants through our simple obedience.

Be blessed today and be a blessing.

 

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