October 18, 2017
At least two years ago, along a trail I enjoy walking, a tall cedar tree fell over. I assumed that within a short time the beautiful green branches would turn brown and die – but that did not happen. Although no longer standing upright, the tree remained very much alive.
When the tree fell, it exposed a major portion of its roots, but not all of them. Over the years, its roots had grown deep into the ground and some remained connected. That tree is still very much alive – knocked down but not out.
The Parks Department cut a portion of the trunk away, leaving just a thin slab for a seat – a resting place for people to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Even that did not stop the tree from drawing sufficient nourishment to stay alive. It offers an amazing statement of endurance.
As I pondered the tree, I remembered the words of the Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians 4:9. He was recounting the hardships of his life in ministry when he declared, “thrown down but not broken.” Paul was a realist. He knew that some people hated him for talking about Jesus as the only way to Creator God and eternal life. They wanted him dead and worked at making that happen.
But Paul was not a quitter. They could knock him down, but they could not knock him out. Like the tree that has deep-rooted connections to nourishment, Paul’s spiritual anchor was in God’s Truth, and he was motivated by love to serve Jesus.
I appreciate the fact that Paul admitted the hurts in his life journey. He did not portray an image of life aloof from challenge and heartache. But he did not give up when the going got tough. They could knock him over, but they could not knock him out. I want to be like him, because Paul’s attitude reflects that of His Mentor – Jesus.
Pastor Bill Ehmann