Strength from Storms
"Is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete."1
"The strongest trees grow not beneath the glass of a conservatory or in the sheltered and sunny valleys. The stoutest timber stands on Norwegian rocks, where tempests rage and long, hard winters reign."2
I've never been to Norway nor have I felt the hard, long winters there, but I have lived where winds blow furiously. When planting young trees, it was important not to stake them too tightly. Staking them loosely (when they were little), the winds caused them to develop and deepen a strong root system they needed to stand the powerful winds when they had grown. We had some trees break, but none ever fell. And where they were broken, they grew again, strong and healthy.
Life's like that. If we overprotect our children when they are young, they will not be equipped to withstand the challenges of life when the winds of adversity strike. And, as adults all of us need the storms of life to help us grow and become healthy and strong in character—or we can allow them to make us bitter rather than better—but that choice is ours.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the trials and tribulations that You have allowed me to go through. Please help me to always allow them to deepen the roots of my faith in You, and help me to grow in faith, love and every grace. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. James 1:2-4 (TLB-NIV)
2. Encyclopedia of Sermon Illustrations.