I am often teased in our family as the person who often shares some random fact. (It’s all in good fun, but some of those facts are pretty obscure.) I love learning new things and it seems God leaves little clues and fingerprints in so many places we miss. When I discover one of them, I can’t resist sharing.
A few years ago as my husband and I were vacationing in California, we visited the powerful National Redwood Forest. The trees are stunning in their height and girth, but this week I discovered something about redwood trees that I did not know that provides me with a powerful metaphor to remind me of spiritual principles we seem to have forgotten in this period of time when division is common.
When you see these mighty redwood trees or even photographs of them what you can’t see is the root structure. I would suspect it ran very deep as I consider the oak and maple trees in our own lawn. (I got to observe that firsthand when we needed to have several maple trees removed a few years ago.) But the root system of redwood trees despite their height and girth is actually shallow.
It was Francine Rivers who enlightened me in her book Earth Psalms:
“A good wind could blow one over if it were standing alone like an oak tree on a hillside. But because redwoods grow together, the roots are interwoven, adding strength so that when the winds come and the rains pour and soak the soil, these tree stand and continue to grow − some for more than a thousand years.”
Then she adds:
“…redwoods’ roots aren’t connected only to the trees on either side of them. They extend up to one hundred feet from the base of the tree in every direction − far enough to connect with scores of other redwoods.”
What would happen if we in the body of Christ took this evidence of God’s fingerprint in nature and applied it in our local body of believers and beyond?
We live in a period where division is commonplace in every area, but in scripture we are repeatedly reminded of the importance of working together as believers and how vital that is. That would appear very straightforward, but division has infiltrated much of the church body today as well. We see it in headlines and hear whispers of it within our own church communities.
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church admonished them on this point at the outset:
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
Paul understood the peril of division within the church to the local body as well as the individuals within it. He knew Satan’s desire was to isolate and separate to undo us all and reduce the power of the Gospel. He not only addressed this issue with the Corinthian church, but to others as well.
To the church at Thessalonica:
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NIV)
To the church at Colossae:
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
To the church in Galatia:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
And to the church in Rome:
“so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Romans 12:5 (NIV)
James and John also addressed this concern in these two examples:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7 (NIV)
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16 (NIV)
Satan knows that if we were to use this story about how God created the redwoods, we would be nearly unstoppable.
Listen to some of Matthew quoting the words of Jesus:
“Any kingdom that fights against itself will end up in ruins. And any family or community splintered by strife will fall apart.”
Matthew 12:25 (TPT)
Lord, help us to be more like redwoods. Even if our roots are not so deep, let us not be separated so when the winds of hardship, loss, and evil beat against us, we will stand as one.
11 thoughts on “Learning from Redwood Trees”
I found your beautiful presentation here when I searched for Francine Rivers’ page online from her devotional EARTH PSALMS to share with my ‘garden sisters’ in the Lord. We have knitted our roots together for over forty years, raising our children and now strengthening one another through the trials of aging, terminal illness/widowhood, and the need for continuing prayers for our growing families.
I am so very refreshed by your own thoughts, Pam, and those of each of you who built upon hers.
Such a Blessing! Thank you, ladies.
Thanks so much, Laura. What a blessing to have a group of sisters over such a long period of time to share in this way. Many of us do not have a group such as that and I am likely in your demographic. I have already lost peers to death and have peers who are widowed.
Hope to hear from you again and get to know you better as we go!
I do love to learn and read and see and photograph trees! Have you heard of the book the Hidden Life of Trees written by Petter Wohlleben a German Forester in the US? Wonderful book and there is now a coffee-table version full of beautiful photos–showing off God’s creations on your living room table.
No, I haven’t heard of this book in any form! Thank you so much for sharing that, Lynn! My husband and I will be at Barnes and Noble tomorrow and I will check it out!😊
I recently wrote a piece about grafting in to God’s family. This information about the redwoods root system excites me just as the heating into an old root does.
What a great correlation you’ve drawn, Mandy! Thanks for sharing that with me🌳
Thanks. It was an exciting study.
I’m in awe after reading this post. Those massive trees have shallow roots which intertwine with the other trees roots for miles. My God! I join you in prayer that the body of Christ will do the same. We are truly better together as your scripture passages share. Thanks for the timely message.
I would have though they would have huge root systems too! We had a tree removed last year and had to dig up so much of our yard to take out the root ball in it’s entirety.
I’m sure you have a vivid picture when you have had a tree removed that isn’t even a redwood😀
Thanks so much for linking up your post at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 42!