Rerun of Daily Devotional June 6, 2018
When Shannon was a young woman, she spent an entire summer in Italy. She toured the Vatican and many other historic sites, saw some of the greatest artwork the world has to offer, and was immersed in a different culture. Those three months made a huge impact and was one of the best experiences of her life.
To remind her of that wonderful time, I planted five small Italian cypress trees next to our house. They are no longer small trees. Four of these trees stand as straight as arrows, like green towers. But one of them is very different.
Years ago, I walked out of the house early one morning to find our yard filled with cows. They had broken through the fence, eaten Shannon’s flowers, and decided to use one of the Italian cypress trees as a scratching post. It has never been the same.
While the other trees have grown straight and tall, this tree has a huge bend in it. But the remarkable thing is that after experiencing the trauma of our cows almost killing it, the tree has never given up. It keeps growing, and while stunted, once again it stretches towards the sky.
This remarkably resilient tree reminds me of some people who have experienced terrible tragedies in their lives, yet they refuse to give up. Even though they may carry emotional, spiritual, or physical scars, they are able to continue on because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. These people are an inspiration to me.
You may be one of those people that suffers the sort of tragedy that would break most of us. If you are, please know it does not have to define and retard your life. Like that wonderful tree next to my house, you too have a future. This is what Paul meant when he said to the Christians in Rome: “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
God can bring light into the darkest of experiences, peace in the midst of horrific pain, and guidance when we are completely lost. All he asks is that we trust him.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, please use the hard times of my life to mold me into the person you want me to be. Give me strength when I am tired, wisdom when I am confused, and comfort when I am filled with pain. Use me to help others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
That beautifully stubborn Italian cypress tree has overcome the tragedy that almost killed it. With God’s help, so can you.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.