I got disappointed when our tall mango tree fell and was cut down. This tree could be seen from our veranda. It was the tree that bore much fruit among the trees in our compound.
A strong wind knocked it down. But I learned that it fell so easily not only because the wind was so strong. Its trunk was hollow. And it was eaten up inside and destroyed by a host of termites.
I still look at the place where the mango tree was once planted. It was no longer there but I see in it glaring lessons.
People measure the worth of a thing based on how it looks. Our mango tree was big and tall. And it bore much fruit. It made me believe that it will survive storms and that it will last for many years. But the strong wind proved me wrong.
We cannot trust strength on the surface. It does not assure us that a thing is bound to stay and last. If we will relate this to life, it tells us that to have inner strength is what will matter most.
To have inner strength means to have strong character. And it builds up through time or even a lifetime. To have it, we need to be patient and disciplined. For us to excel in it, we must watch our thoughts, habits and actions. For these are the things that form our character.
If we fail to develop strong character, it will be our loss. Because of this, we are inviting elements that will destroy us. These are the little mistakes that pile up if they go unchecked. They can be small lies, misdeeds or shortcomings. The moment lifes tests come upon us, remember that the devil will use them to tear us down. Should we blow it, we will suffer corresponding consequences.
The lesson it leaves is obvious. Though they are but small misdeeds, we should not underestimate what they are able to do - just like those termites that are able to hit down a tree or even an entire house.
In life, it is very significant to note that it is not the big thing that usually wears us down. Often, these are the little issues not dealt with for many years that put us in trouble. Later, we would wonder how mighty are these to have pulled us down and brought misery into our lives.
We need to guard those little issues. Take for instance the small grudge that we hold against anyone. If we ignore this, this can grow big. Slowly, this will turn out to be hatred. And worst, revenge.
If we continue to refuse to forgive, it will make us weak. Weak in the sense that we will find it hard to be true and reasonable in our dealings with people. Hatred will harden our hearts and remove our sound reasoning. If we live by it, there is no more left to us except a critical spirit. And this is the thing that will pull us down.
It is imperative that we check our heart regularly. Christian counselor and teacher Dr. Harold Sala asks us the following questions to help us reflect. What do we want out of life? What do we think most about? How do we spend our money? What do we do with our leisure time? What kind of company do we enjoy? Whom do we admire? What do we laugh at? Largely, answers to these questions determine what lies inside of us.
The Lord Jesus Christ has unveiled the secret to stay strong, stable and fruitful as ever. I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)
It is much better to be pruned by God. It is much better to accept the pain of being checked, rebuked and corrected than to perish. With God pruning us as we abide in Him, we know that we will gain inner strength. With Him, we can stay strong, stable and fruitful even in the midst of lifes tempests.
1. What are your weaknesses? How can you transform them into strength?
2. Problems come to us. And they reveal what kind of people we are. If you are facing problems right now, what do these tell about you?
Be warned. Small things may work in bigger ways.