Pam and I just got back from Big Sur for a visit with Pam’s father. On our way up there, we expected to find ashes and burned down remnants of trees. With the fires that ravaged thousands of acres, destroyed homes, and caused thousands to be evacuated earlier this year there was not much hope of beautiful scenery. Instead, what we saw once we arrived was beautiful and breathtaking. In the midst of the charred mountains standing majestically strong and tall were huge Redwood trees. Their beauty radiated among the black ashes that surrounded them. They seemed to say, “The fires could not hurt me.” However, there were some Redwood trees that were damaged. These were the ones whose bark had been removed for the purpose of tanning leather. When their bark was removed, their God-given protection was not there to save them when the inferno came.
In Proverbs, there are “30 Sayings of the Wise” (found in 22:17-24:22). In my quiet time as I reflected on the scenery that I beheld, I was drawn to the 24th Saying in Proverbs 24:10: If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited. It tells us that in the day of distress, when the fire encroaches into our lives, our true strength will be revealed. Prov. 24:5 says that the wise are strong. Just like with the Redwood tress, the fires and stresses of life tell us how strong we really are.
I am currently going through a stressful time and the pressure has been building for a couple of weeks. The last thing I wanted to do was leave everything going on here and head off to the Redwoods. Yet, during the time with Pam and her father and in the presence of the beautiful Redwoods is where the voice of God called me back to Him and offered me the strength only He can give.
Psalms 121:1-3 1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.