What defines strength for you? Is strength defined by how much someone can lift? Is strength measured by the size of muscles or stature? Is strength the ability to conquer someone else? Or is it something entirely different?
Strength, for me, comes in many shapes and sizes. It has very little to do with outside appearance. Some of the toughest people I know are of little stature. What if strength is defined by the ability to endure? What if it is the persistent gift of never giving up, no matter the obstacles? What if it is giving it one more try, on more day, one more chance? What if strength is defined by standing up for what you believe in the face of much adversity? Maybe strength is given to us even when we are facing the greatest storms of our lives. Maybe we have built strength for times just like this. Maybe, just maybe, we are stronger than we could ever imagine.
One of my favorite things in God’s beautiful, awe-inspiring creation is a tree. Trees speak strength to me. They embody what it looks and feels like to be strong. Some may think I am a tree hugger. I am that and a tree admirer. I seek to be like the tree. They remind me of tough resilience even when conditions are the worst. They remind me they can change with the seasons and adapt to the seemingly impossible. They house birds that are looking for safety before taking on new life. They provide sport for squirrels and other animals. They shade those who are weary. They hold swings for little children and provide hours of amazement as we grow older. They are strong and they are powerful. You don’t move them without serious equipment. And they speak to generations.
Maybe we should change our idea of how strength looks. Resilience in the face of adversity seems pretty strong to me. Natural beauty despite the elements exudes strength. Support for others and safety for our neighbors is remarkable strength. Cared for by God and renewed by his love is a great way to live. I want to be like a tree. Maybe I am and maybe you are too. Maybe there is more strength in us than we can even imagine. Stand tall. Stand strong. Never give up.
31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery