Staying Connected

Unless you have visited the redwood groves on the California coast it is hard to imagine just how big the trees there are.  The only way to show their size photographically is to place a person or some other well-known object (like a car) next to one of the trees.  These giant trees can be as tall as a 35 story building.  In the Humboldt Redwoods State Park I walked around a tree at its base and it took me 23 steps to complete the journey, and this tree was not even the biggest one.  Not only do redwood trees grow to great heights, they can live for very long periods of time as well.  Some specimens are estimated to be over two thousand years old. 

To be a tree that grows so big and tall—one that lives so long—you might expect that the redwood trees have deep roots.  That, however, is not the case.  The redwood tree’s roots typically grow outward rather than downward.  This would seem to be a recipe for disaster but redwood trees have another characteristic—they tend to connect their roots to other redwood trees nearby.  By joining together they find strength to endure fierce storms century after century.

I cannot help but believe that there is a spiritual lesson here for us.  You typically hear people say we need to have deep roots in our faith, and there is certainly truth to this.  The redwood trees, however, remind us that we also need to be connected to others to find strength and stability for the storms of life.  I know from my own experience that without a community of faith that includes family, friends and my church that I’d never make it. 

The author of the Book of Hebrews said “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (10:25)  Staying connected with other believers is a must for anyone seeking to live the Christian life.  We were not intended to make our journey alone.  What life throws at us is too much to tackle alone. We truly do need one another—just like the redwoods.

–Chuck

(The top image was taken at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, while the bottom image was taken at a city park in Arcata, California.)