I have walked this mountain at least seventy times.
And over the last month I have been contemplating a question. There are few trees on this mountain, but where there are trees, they appear to be growing out of rocks. Last week I passed by a rock that had been totally destroyed by the roots. So much that the roots had broken the rock to almost appear as if there was soil.
And I wondered, why would a tree choose to be planted here, in this rock? As I looked around there was plenty of soil base – away from the rocks. In my opinion, everywhere else but the rock would be more hospitable to a tree. But I see no trees coming from the soil. As I gaze across the mountain side, each tree is rooted within a rock.
From what I know about rocks, there is not much nourishment that comes from rocks . It would be hard to find water within a rock. And how can those tiny roots begin to penetrate the hard surface? Yet, unless my eyes deceive me, this has happened. For more than a hundred trees. And thousands of seeds have fallen to the ground, where there is soil, and yet not one has taken roots. What is this phenomenon?
I ask myself, what can I learn from the tree? What does this one lesson have for me. What should I be learning from these trees?
The rock provides protection.
The rock provides a foundation.
There has to be a security in the rock. Shelter.
Pushing through a rock to grow sure develops perseverance. It develops strength. The roots of those trees must cling to the rock to remain alive. And we too must cling to our rock – Jesus. Who is alive. Who does provide nourishment. Who is stable.
I have thought, “I wonder what that would feel like to be that root?” To push the rock. To break the rock. There must be discouragement with each breakthrough. Because one layer of rock just leads to the next and the next. This tiny tree has no idea of what it’s getting itself into. Yet it is helpless. It cannot move to another location. It merely clings to the rock and gives its best effort. It merely grows where it is planted. Is that it what we should be doing as well?
Where do we find ourselves planted? Do I plant myself within the rock? Or do I seek fertile ground? Often I think we see open ground that appears to be a good place to take root, yet it doesn’t have the shelter that the rock does. It doesn’t provide a base. I seek the comfortable so as not to be vulnerable to the elements. I have the idea that I want to persevere, but I am slow to press into the rock.
And so today, may I learn today from this tree. From all of the trees.
That in order to stand the test of the time, I must find the Rock and root myself there. Any nourishment that I need will be provided.
“The Lord is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2