Trials By Fire

God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them. 

Aughey

The Lodgepole Pine is a common sight in my old home state of Wyoming. The Lodgepole Pine has a lifespan of about a hundred years - after that, they just stop growing and begin to die. These trees then literally become lightning rods and many spectacular fires have taken place within these forests of pine trees. Now, you might be wondering why God created a species of tree that grow for only so many years and then die out to become little more than fuel for fire.

Oddly enough, the answer to this question reveals something great about God's intelligent design. It is when these trees burn that their cones open up and drop their seeds. In certain climates, these pine cones will not open up to anything short of a fire. The seeds then fall to the newly enriched soil, sprout, and then grow like there is no tomorrow. In a few years you have a fresh new stand of healthy, thriving Lodgepole Pines... and the cycle starts anew.

There is an important lesson to be learned from a tree that only becomes productive after it has been through the fire. People are like that, when you think about it. When conditions are perfect, we thrive and grow, Then one day, though the conditions remain perfect, we just stop growing - and then we start to die. Many people never recover from such perfect conditions. This, I believe, is why you see so few children of privilege succeed: They didn't struggle to get their wealth or position or status, so they die after a while. This shouldn't come as a surprise because very few people thrive without challenges for very long.

But, let a little adversity come into these same lives and something wonderful happens: They wake up! They struggle! They begin to live again! Only then do they start to produce those seeds that are capable of producing something great that will last for generations - long after they themselves have departed this world. So, if you are experiencing a bit of adversity, thank your loving Father - it is a great gift! Adversity will not kill you - in fact, it just may renew your entire life. Have you had any adversity of late... have you been through the fire? If so, will you wallow in your misfortune, or will you use this fantastic opportunity to begin anew?

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

II Corinthians 4:16-17, NIV