On a recent hike in Great Basin National Park I came across an extraordinary sight. At about 10,000 feet, just below the tree line were these odd looking, but beautiful pine trees… Bristlecone Pines. I learned these pine trees are the oldest living things on the planet, some as old as 5,000 years.
When you consider they are growing in an area of great adversity, extreme cold and wind, rocky “soil” if you can call it that… it’s really just rock. It’s amazing they can not only survive, but truly thrive.
Many years ago Bristlecone Pines were planted at an elevation of about 5,500 feet where growing conditions are much more friendly. What they found was the trees grew straight, just like most pine trees and they’re lifespan was the same too. Thousands of years less than where they normally grow. This was fascinating to me!
Ok so by now you’re saying what’s this have to do with me. Well, we all enjoy seasons of peace and ease, but what really shapes us, what really makes us who we are, is the adversity we go through. Yet when we are in the middle of adversity we do anything we can to get out of it. What if God is using the adversity you are facing today to help mold you into the man He created you to be? What if you entered the next few days with this perspective? What I’m going through is tough, but I can do hard things. God is with me and this will ultimately be for my good and the good of others.
I think I’m beginning to see a little more clearly what James is talking about. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4