The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. Psalm 145:14
Taking a break from city life, Heather and I got an early jump on the Labour Day long weekend. We’re visiting a friend on Pine Mountain, a place we’d never heard of, but now will never forget due to its picturesque beauty.
Towing the van through the high country's meandering highways and backroads, I couldn’t help looking at the skylines — ahead, to my right, and to my left. On all sides are mountains and hills; those places burnt in the 2020 bushfires.
There is a marked difference between a burnt tree and one that hasn’t. The bushy liveliness is missing. The vigour and noble magnificence has been replaced by a vision of exhausted charred debris. After a bushfire, what one sees are tall black and tortured pole-like growths with a swag of naked blackened arms, looking stark against the backdrop of singed mountainous countryside.
This fire, brutal in its rage, caused a transformation so extraordinary, one couldn’t help thinking whether these helpless giant pitch-black sticks, once regal in their sustainable splendour, would ever return to normal. And yet, they did.
The resilience of trees, factored in by our creator at the foundation of the world and passed done by seed ever since, produces a robustness we find hard to appreciate until we see it.
That same DNA of resilience is in humans. We can find ourselves going through bushfire-type ravages, the brutality of which is often as real and crushing as one in nature. At times, we find it hard to believe we can survive.
Yet, deep within our DNA is a resilience we don't quite understand. As with flora and fauna, it was designed for us at creation, for the express purpose of surviving trauma. We are rarely conscious of this inherent hardiness until we go through the fire. During those uninvited trials, we find our substance.
The same way these trees survive, the Lord gives us the grace and durability to get through. He upholds those that fall, and raiseth up all who are bowed down...or burnt. He replenishes. Just when it appears that no new growth is possible, it comes, slowly but increasingly, almost hiding our hardship. A few years and nobody can tell of our suffering. It's no longer identifiable until they look closer or pry. Scars often remain, but the trauma has passed and our vibrant spirit returns. The Lord has seen us through.
When you are going through your fires, make the Lord your comfort, and seek help from His people, who will go the extra mile with you, and maybe more.
Today's prayer:Dear Lord, I have been through the fires, and don't know how I survived. I know what this means. I have lived it. You gave me the resilience to keep placing one foot in front of the other, but sometimes you had to lift me when I fell, and carry me part of the way. Thank you for your closeness and depth of your love during those fires.
Photo by Micheal Held