Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

Thursday, September 9, 2010

“A Survivor”

April 19, 1995...9:02am…

You may recall the meaning of this date in history. Maybe it doesn’t even ring a bell. It’s one of those days, like many others, you can probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. It was on this fateful day when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed and destroyed along with 168 people, including 19 children and 3 unborn babies who also lost their lives along with their mothers who carried them.

A tragic event took place that day in April, 1995. Pain, suffering, and loss experienced by so many. But among the rubble and debris stood a survivor who witnessed one of the worst terrorist attacks in America. At more than 80 years old, she barely held on to life following the bomb’s blast. The survivor is an American…an American Elm that is. Today she is called, “The Survivor Tree”.

The force of the 4,000 pound bomb drove glass into her trunk, buried so deep that more glass is still found each year. The hood from a car was even found lodged among her branches. Leaves were stripped from her and she was surrounded by flames. Considered a loss, no one paid too much attention to her, for there were more important things to be concerned about. Many were grieving and burying their loved ones. Clean-up and healing needed to take place.

Ironically, as the first anniversary of the bombing drew near, the tree’s leaves began coming in. Signifying resilience and hope, the victims’ family members dubbed her as “The Survivor Tree”. Thanks to her strong, deep roots, she had lived through the full blast of the bomb. Today she stands, a thriving and loving memorial of renewal and rebirth. Seedlings taken from her have been distributed and planted all over the United States. The inscription around her reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”

What bomb’s blast are you experiencing today? What tragedy has you holding on for dear life? Are you cut up? Are you surrounded by flames? Have others counted you out, forgotten you? It’s not uncommon for us to wonder if we can survive the trial that we are walking through. But just like the Survivor Tree, our roots must run deep in order to make it through.

Our faith must be:

Rooted in Love:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

Rooted in Righteousness:
“The wicked desire the plunder of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes.” Proverbs 12:12

Rooted in Christ:
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

If we trust in the Lord we will flourish, just as a tree flourishes next to it’s water source. It’s leaves are green and full of life. We will not become anxious in tough times because our minds are fixed on peace and our satisfaction lies in the Lord, our true source of replenishment. As a result, we may continue to bear good fruit even through times of trouble. Because of the work the Lord has done in our lives, we are eager to plant seeds of hope in the lives of others. Just as the seeds of the Survivor Tree re-birthed more trees across the US, we too have a message of renewal that we have been called to share in order to produce more Christ followers. Their very lives depend on it!

As we become battered and bruised on the outside, those deep roots of our faith are what enables us to survive. And just like the Survivor Tree, the inscription placed upon our hearts should read, “The spirit of (insert your name here) will not be defeated. His/her deeply rooted faith in Christ sustains him/her.”

WE too can be symbols of resilience and hope! WE too can be survivors!

1 comment:

  1. Dayna... this was astounding. What a positive story/message. I didnt know about the tree. Deep roots.. i like that. Makes me want to examine my roots and see how far Christ has brought me through the blasts I have survived! Dayna, thank you for allowing God to work through you and touch us.