Several years ago, I took a short break in Colorado. I am always emotionally refreshed in nature, and the mountains of Colorado have some amazing places to be still, to connect with the Lord, and to reflect on His greatness. Thus, one afternoon, I was with a few friends in Ouray’s hot springs pool. Relaxing in the steamy hot waters, we gazed up at the rocky cliffs, yellow aspen leaves, and deep green pines.
Feeling grateful and content, we each began to share reflections and thoughts from the day
outdoors. I turned to address my friend, who looked up at the rocks and ledges: “What do you see up there?”
“I’m looking at that tree up there, the one growing in the rocks.”
“Wow, it’s fascinating, isn’t it? Rather surprising that it would grow there like that. It doesn’t seem that there would be enough soil for it to survive there.” He just sat quietly, so I prodded a bit. “What has the Lord been speaking to your heart as you pray?”
His eyes returned to the pine as he answered, “Faithfulness.”
Again, he fell silent. I sat for a minute, my mind digging in for what deep meaning he must have gleaned. My eyes traveled up the steep rocks to the slim cracks. The gnarled pine seemed to be hanging on for dear life! “It really has picked a rather difficult place to grow, hasn’t it? But it seems to be sticking it out, against all odds.”
“No, that’s not exactly it.” I felt a twinge of embarrassment at my assumption, but I shirked off the shame and leaned in to listen. “That tree doesn’t know its perilous location. It doesn’t contemplate that it is surviving against all odds. Rather, the Creator God placed the seed right there; and He whispered to it: ‘Now grow.’ It didn’t know that it wasn’t supposed to grow there. The Creator said “Grow,” and so it did. That’s faithfulness”
We all fell silent for a few minutes, deep in thought and in prayer. How true.
The tree’s “faithfulness” was not in the fact that it weighed the impossible circumstance and, although fearful, chose to endure, against all odds.
Rather, its “faithfulness” meant that it took no mind of its precarious footings. Creator God placed the seed in that crack. Now if He put it there,…if He called it to sprout and grow, it ignores that it “probably can’t grow there.” And, faithful to its Creator (and Planter), it does.
I want to be that faithful.
Zooming out for a “big picture view” of our ministry
Nearly 15 years ago, Activation International began with a seed of vision and His promise to be with us everywhere we go. In a time of serious economic crisis in America (2008), God “planted” Activation International, and we started this nonprofit organization. Who does that?! But He had instilled in us a vision for ministry, and He reassured us with His promise to always be with us. Thus, with His whisper, “Now grow!” we didn’t consider the risk. We simply obeyed.
Yes, this is hard. We go through seasons of plenty and seasons of drought. God has always provided us with what we need to do everything to which He has called us. This season of ministry (2022) is challenging. We must guard our hearts against the doubt and insecurity that tempts us to fix our eyes on the jagged cliff on which we find ourselves. He is our Creator and Sustainer. We have all that we need. He has called us to partner with Him, and He will lead us and direct our paths. We must trust Him…and obey His very whisper.