Many years ago, I asked God to make me a Redwood. (Figuratively, of course).
I had just finished Charles Stanley’s How to Handle Adversity, where he says this: “Nature clearly demonstrates that the things that grow the strongest usually grow slowly. Only weeds and toadstools pop up overnight.”
For a season, from my late teens through my early twenties, my Dad would frequently confront me about taking the easy way out. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, because my life was anything but easy. One time, he phrased it a little bit differently: given the choice, I would take the path of least resistance.
Pfft. No joke. Who wouldn’t?
According to Charles Stanley, the strongest things in nature wouldn’t, that’s who.
At the time, Redwoods were about the strongest thing in nature I could think of, so I did some research.
Redwoods boast some of the world’s tallest trees, but it takes them time to get there. Some of these trees are upwards of 2,000 years old.
Redwoods can sprout in just about any conditions, as long as they have adequate moisture. (Which is not to say there aren’t ideal conditions for Redwood growth).
Things that absolutely ravage other trees – like disease and insects and fire – cannot get to Redwoods. Tannic acid and thick bark protect them.
If a Redwood falls, it can still provide nourishment to other Redwoods (Nursery Trees) through it’s root system.
Redwoods are resilient little buggers, and I decided I wanted to be like them.
That’s why I asked God to make me a Redwood. Honestly, though, I haven’t thought much about Redwoods or the prayer since that season.
A few weeks ago, Emily Rose Lewis wrote a post about turtles – well, not turtles, exactly, but rather how God has used turtles to communicate His heart with her. Almost immediately, I began to pray that God would show me my turtle, and I kept my eyes peeled.
I’ve been feeling isolated lately. As I wrote last week, much of this is my own doing, and I hate having found myself here. So I’m taking steps out of isolation. I know this is not God’s intention for me – this isolation – but I wanted to hear it from Him.
Driving home from work the night I wrote that post, I was flipping through stations on my radio, and landed on Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I was about to flip the station again, when she says, “You know, I learned an interesting fact about Redwoods recently.” She went on to explain that one would think Redwood roots are really deep for their height, but they only extend down six-to-twelve feet. Instead, Redwood roots spread out several dozen feet so they become entangled with each other. By and large, it’s how they stay standing.
Being a fact-checker by nature (and cynical about too many preachers and teachers in Evangelical Christendom not doing their fact-checking before spreading stuff around that just sounds good), and because I hadn’t gleaned this during my initial research five years ago, I did some more research.
Apparently, I just missed it the first time, because every site talks about it.
Maybe I was too focused on the lessons of patience, persevering through adversity, being strong, and leaving an impact that I couldn’t see the lesson on community. Maybe God knew I would need that particular lesson more last week than I did five years ago.
Either way, Charles Stanley is right: “the strongest things in nature grow slowly.”
You want to know something else? They grow together, too.