Between a Rock and a Pine Tree

We have this rock resting in the lake at the edge of our lot in Maine. It’s not just any rock. It is the same shape as a vintage travel trailer, only bigger. I would bet that 50 people could stand together on it, but we would be hard-pressed to find 50 people in this rural area. It would be easier to find 25 bears, but that seems like a disaster in the making. But you get the idea. It’s big. We call it, coincidentally, “The Big Rock.”

There have always been a couple of pretty pink flowers that grow out of The Big Rock. I think they are weeds, but they are pretty, so they stay. This year, there was a new growth, a baby pine tree. It’s very cute, very Charlie Brown-like. The weeds grow and die off every year. But this little pine tree could potentially keep on growing.

I asked it – yes, I talked to the little tree. Don’t judge me; remember there are no people around. “Do you know where you are? You’re on a rock. There is no earth to put your roots in. How are you going to get nutrients? You can’t live long where you are? What’s your plan?” I’m pretty sure it said, “This is where I was planted, so this is where I’m going to grow. I may not last long or grow very big, but I’ll stand up straight and enjoy every minute I have.”

What a wise little tree. The pine trees here grow straight and tall and never get too big around. I wish I did the same. They don’t have a lot of low branches. There are so many trees packed together in these woods, all of them reaching for the sunshine, that the low branches don’t grow. But this little tree is away from the other trees. It’s gets sun all day. There’s nothing stunting its growth, except the rock.

I showed it to my husband. “Look at that,” he said, “We should probably pull it out. Eventually, its roots will break off that lower part of the rock.” What? That little innocent-looking tree will break off a large piece of granite? Sure, it’s roots will grow and push down and out and, at some point, crack the rock. There is evidence of that very thing happening all over this area.

My little pine tree is growing in an unfortunate place. A hard place, with little food but plenty of sun. The seed that started the whole thing was probably dropped there by a bird and rolled down into a crevice where it took root. So, it grew. It didn’t know it was in an impossible situation. It just grew because that’s where it was planted. Its future is unsure. Will it grow so big it breaks the rock? Will it die from malnutrition? Will it be pulled out? We’ll see.

Do you ever feel like my little pine tree? Are you wondering how you got into such a difficult situation and how you’re going to get out? Let me encourage you to keep growing right where you’re planted. God has a purpose for you in the hard place you find yourself. Trust Him. You’re right where he wants you. He will grow you and use you in the lives of those around you. And you just might break through that hard place and find peaceful waters underneath.

therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4 NASB)

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