In her book, “North to the Orient”, Anne Morrow Lindbergh speaks of the oriental symbolism of trees. She wrote that the bamboo tree stands for prosperity. The pine tree means a long, long life and the plum tree suggests courage and steadfastness in the trials that nature provides because it puts out its blossoms while the snow is still on the ground while positively setting its compass toward spring.
Some trees stand straight, tall, and display supernatural strength to the naked eye. Yet we see others that are twisted, bent, and crooked and we perceive them as weak and not of what we would call “good stock”. When we examine them we sometimes forget that the raging winds of nature and the countless storms of decades have produced floods that have wreaked havoc. Not only that but we also realize that thunder and lightning has beaten upon them and yet, even though they are bent and twisted, some of them seem stronger than ever while others are blown down.
Christians are like the trees; some can weather the “storms of life” and seem to get stronger with each passing day even though they have been beaten upon by the world and the worldly. Yet there are times when we see others who are bent and crippled by the same “storms”. When trials and tribulation come your way how will you respond? What will ultimately make the difference between strength and weakness; between victory and defeat; between heaven and hell? How are you going to handle the trials that surely will come your way? Will you trust in the One who gave you life or will you be distracted from the goal of heaven? The cry for a weakened life is, “Give me the cure”. And yet the answer is sure and steadfast. The heavenly elixir for total victory is none other than faith. But this faith is not just your ordinary average run of the mill faith. This faith is the faith in the One who holds tomorrow.
I think that all of us on this side of the Cross need to pray that God would give us a “Plum Tree Faith,” the kind of faith that blossoms in the face of dire circumstances. We need the kind of faith that allows us to be comforted in spite of dire circumstances. When the “storms” of this life begin to intensify we need the faith that the Apostle Paul possessed when he wrote, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that Day”.
The Hebrew writer tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Brothers and sisters when all else fails, faith will stand. Faith can climb a mountain, swim the deepest ocean or cross the most desolate desert known to man. In the end faith in Jesus Christ will be all that matters. Money, houses and cars will not stand the test of time. Everything that you hoped and dreamed for and about will be worthless compared to the grace that is only available through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember, faith goes up the stairs that love has made and looks out the windows which hope has opened! So when the storms are raging in your life, ask God to give you an extra measure of courage. Remember, just on the other side of winter is spring; likewise just on the other side of defeat is victory! So be a tree planted by the water and make that tree a Plum Tree!
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