Twists that Strengthen

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    When a tree is threatened by an outside force something very interesting happens. The tree will twist underneath the bark to reinforce and make itself stronger. This often happens when a tree is threatened by a fire, drought, or other outside stress. On the surface the tree looks the same. The bark is still vertical and straight, but underneath the tree has twisted. It only becomes apparent when the bark is pulled off after the tree has been cut down.

    There are many times that we go through struggles in our lives. These struggles are sometimes at the hand of the devil and are out of our control. There are times when Satan throws heart ache after heart ache at us and there is not much we could have done to stop those difficulties. We know that He walks about as a lion trying to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). We know that as long as we live faithful we will suffer at the hand of Satan (2 Timothy 3:2). These struggles that Satan throws at us are often difficult and continuous. Sometimes we try to understand why or to find a reason why Satan has thrown these struggle at us yet usually we don’t see the reason.

    Other times we face struggles due to our own decisions. Sometimes our struggles are consequences of actions that we have taken and they often lead to very difficult struggles in our lives. The cause of these struggles is usually apparent, yet still the struggles are equally difficult to endure. Good can always come from our struggles whether they are due to Satan and his evil works or due to our own sins. Many times our struggles can steer us away from the temptations that we face and help free us from sin. Israel often faced difficult struggles that were designed to help Israel out of sin and steer them back to God’s loving arms.

    Regardless of the cause of our struggles, there is one comfort that we as Christians have. We know that when we love God and are faithful to Him that the terrible struggles that we face will work together for good (Romans 8:28). We know the power that God has to accomplish His will today. We know that through providence and the truth of His word God can lead us in the direction we must go. Yet we must be willing to trust Him. When we find ourselves facing struggles at the hand of Satan we trust that God is working in the background to make them work out for good. When we find ourselves facing struggles that we have brought on by our own sin we repent, turn back to God and then trust that He is working in the background to work all together for good.

    When we look at the lives of amazing Bible characters, two things were always in common. They had great faith and trust in God that He would faithfully deliver on His promises, and they made mistakes. Abraham, David, Moses, Paul, Peter, and many others each made mistakes that cost them dearly, but they each turned back to God and as they did God worked their struggles for good not only in their own lives, but in the lives of those around them for centuries to come!

    When trees face hardship from fire or drought, they twist under their bark to become stronger. When we turn to God and trust Him, our struggles, regardless of the cause, will help us grow and make us stronger.