Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A reed is very strong

Some people refuse to bend when someone corrects them. Eventually they will break, and there will be no one to repair the damage. 
(Proverbs 29:1 ERV)

"You get tragedy where the tree, instead of bending, breaks." (Ludwig Wittgenstein) We come across those from time to time who are just "un-bendable". They refuse any advice to do something a different way, determining their way is best of all, despite their lack of progress or inefficiencies. When we face these individuals, what is our reaction to their determination to "not bend"? It may be that we dig in our heels a little bit harder and try to make the point a little louder or with more determination ourselves. It could also be that we shake our heads, turn away, and just leave them to their own self-directed course. Either way, we do little to influence their unyielding determination. What they may ultimately require is the touch of God's hand in their lives, bringing such a "storm" as to bend them to the point they actually break.

While this is never the ideal, the broken tree can often be "re-birthed" - it just is left with very noticeable scars. I have a Palo Verde that backs up to my property that is constantly being whipped to and fro in the winds of the monsoons. Inevitably, there is a time when one or more of those branches gets broken off, splintering and tearing deeply at the soft green bark and yellow heart of the tree. That exposed area subjects the tree to disease, with the entrance of dust and bugs, water and debris. If the tree is lucky, it develops a way to heal, but the area where the branch was rent from the tree is forever noticeable. Some of the other trees on the same street have not weathered well those winds. They have been uprooted, left to the fate of being cut into firewood and hauled to the dump. 

Either way, these trees, while appearing strong, revealed there true "weakness" in the midst of the storm. The most versatile of tree isn't the one that is unyielding to the winds, but the one that is able to sway, giving way to the winds and allowing those winds to pass through their boughs without stressing them to the point of breaking. Their roots aren't superficial, and their boughs aren't spindly. I have pines in my yard and a couple of elms. Their branches might get whipped by the winds, but they remain intact. Their roots can be found yards and yards away from their base - making their anchorage broad and strong. I have had to "correct" the growth of these trees from time to time by anchoring them with stakes and binding their branches with ropes. In the end, they have become stronger and more able to endure the storms.

Rather than standing all proud and unyielding when the times comes for us to be "corrected" in our growth, wouldn't it be much better to endure the "harassment" of the stakes and binding ropes than to give way to the "renting" power of the stormy winds? Just askin?