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No Pain, No Gain

About 15 years ago, an extension of a major freeway was built in southern Ontario, including through about a mile from where I live (the 403 is now a primary travel and trucking route between Windsor and Detroit to the west, and Toronto, Niagara Falls and Buffalo to the east). Part of it was constructed through a small local wooded area, practically right through the middle of it (I walked through those woods many times as I was growing up, and well-remember the day that the bulldozers went in). One of the unintended consequences of the splitting of that wooded area (apart from an occasional deer that unsuccessfully attempts to get to the other half of the bush by crossing 4 lanes of high-speed freeway traffic) is that when there are storms, once in a while a tree that was in the center of that woods, but is now on the perimeter where the highway was cut through, topples over in the wind, literally uprooted. I had a close look at one of those recently, and was somewhat amazed at how such a large tree could have such shallow roots. At least part of the reason for that is that because it spent its life in the sheltered area within the woods, with the outer trees serving as wind breaks for it, it never became as strong as those who were subjected to more "weather." It looked like a normal tree, but when circumstances made it an outer tree that had to stand on its own two feet, so to speak, it failed because its roots, that did little more than feed it in the moist and fertile soil within the woods, were weak.

Strength From Adversity

Holy Bible As trees grow, they are subjected to wind that actually slightly damages their roots as they are rocked and swayed by high winds, but from that damage comes a natural healing process that results in the roots becoming denser and deeper - they become stronger from adversity. Trees that are too sheltered from the wind may look good and do well, as long as they continue to have someone else (some other tree, that is) protect them, but when they have to face, on their own, everything that the world has to throw at them, they are sometimes unable to adapt in time, so over they go with a mighty crash.

God doesn't want people to suffer or to be unhappy, but at the same time, for our own ultimate good, occasional adversity is a natural, and Godly, process of becoming, not hardened and bitter, but strong and resilient. Satan may huff, and he may puff, but he's the one that's going down (see When The Cat Will Become The Mouse):

"Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness ... Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:2-3,12 RSV)

"Every one then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the Rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the Rock. And every one who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:24-27 RSV)

Fact Finder: Which of Jesus' parables spoke of the need for strong, deep "roots"?
Mark 4:2-8


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