KEEPING THE FAITH: Grow old, grow strong

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 09:57 AM.

It’s more than three million square miles of waterless earth holding rocks, mountains, and sand dunes higher than sky scrapers. Temperatures can exceed 130 degrees in the day and drop to freezing at night. Gale force winds are common. The Sahara is the most caustic climate on earth, and still, there are trees growing and blooming in that endless desert.

This stumps observers at first glance, but a closer investigation tells the tale. The most vibrant specimens have deep, extensive root systems that tap into primordial sources of water; root systems that did not develop over a decade. No, these trees are centuries, and sometimes, millennia old.

Is life easy for such trees? No, life appears impossible. Yet, the impossibility of it all is what makes this lesson so astonishingly clear: A tough climate does not rob a well-nourished tree of its strength. The climate reveals its strength, for outer severity cannot exterminate the tree. It can only expose the tree’s inner wellbeing.

So it is with people. When you see a person of character, stability, authenticity, and strength in an otherwise desolate landscape, you know that something life-giving is beneath the surface, for neither trees nor people grow green and strong in the desert without a supply of water.

And interesting enough, some of the strongest, most vibrant people are those with more than few tree-rings under their bark. They are sturdier than the many saplings whipping in the wind because they are older. They have remained rooted in faith for a long time. That’s how faith works. Stick with it; it will grow on you, and in time, you will grow with it.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.



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