In the past month and a half there have been two summer thunderstorms that brought strong winds to the Mitchell area. Both storms produced a lot of lightening, thunder, and rain. But the damage that was caused by these storms was from the strong wind that accompanied the storms. Both times, wow did it blow.
The mornings after these storms had passed by, the damage they caused was revealed. Here in Mitchell the main damage was to trees; uprooted, snapped off, and broken tree limbs. It saddened me to see some beautiful mature trees that were broken off and destroyed by the power of the storm.
One of the things I noticed is that some of the trees that had limbs broken off or that were damaged by the wind, had pre-existing issues that were brought to light by the storm. With some trees it was clear to see, with others you had to look closely, but still, it was apparent where the break took place that there was an underlying issue, mainly that the tree had either died already or that the particular limb that had broken off had disease, or was rotten on the inside, or the tree roots had not developed or gone deep. From the outside or from the surface, the tree or limb looked fine, but on the inside or on a deeper level, there was weakness because of disease or decay or some other unseen unhealthiness.
After the July storm that caused significant damage, I was talking to an individual who knows more about trees than I do. One of the comments made in our conversation was that storms can be mother natures way of pruning trees; revealing where unhealthiness is located and then removing it.
That statement has stuck with me, but not just from a “tree” perspective. There is also truth in that statement as it relates to our spiritual and faith lives. You see, when the storms of life hit, or when the pressure is on, it tends to reveal what is on the inside of the person. When a person feels threatened, insecure, or strong emotional pressure, it is often then that anger, fear, worry, cynicism, addictions, rage, blame, bitterness, and such things begin to be displayed in one’s behaviors. On the surface things can look pretty good in our lives…but when a storm comes crashing down upon us, that is when the hidden unhealthiness is often revealed and shows the brokenness in our lives.
One of the ways to discover where such dis-ease or unhealthiness is in our lives is to take notice of our behaviors when we get irritated. When you’re stuck behind by a slow driver or just stuck in traffic, when something unexpected or unwanted happens to you, what is your first reaction? When something doesn’t go your way, when someone says something that rubs you wrong, or when your patience is stretched thin, what is your first thought? Another way to discover the unhealthy points in your life is to pray a very simple prayer, “Lord, show me the points of unhealthiness or brokenness in my life.”
I pray that no storms come upon any of us. However, I know the reality of life is this…storms are coming for each and every one of us. So, let’s get prepared. As followers of Jesus, may we each look to Jesus to point out the brokenness that needs healing. May we allow him to show us the pruning that needs to be done. Doing this hard work sooner, rather than later, can prepare us for the storms to come in life and lessen the impact when they do strike. If you want to know more about why pruning is important…Read John 15!