Trees- a metaphor


One day when we were having hurricane winds like we get here at times, I looked out my window and saw my neighbor’s newly planted tree blowing completely sideways.  I noticed his anchoring system was failing because his only tie down was now flapping everywhere.   Dust was blowing in his eyes and I could see he was going to have a difficult time doing this job by himself.  Just about the time I had made up my mind to go venture outside in the storm to help him, another neighbor wearing his Sunday suit came out of nowhere, (a member of our bishopric in my church).  He held up the tree while my neighbor tried anchoring it.  A few minutes later, here came the other two suit clad members of our bishopric carring several hefty stakes and strong ropes.  Soon, between these four men, my neighbor’s tree was anchored down so tight and rigid, I believe musical notes could be played with a bow on its strings.

The metaphor I learned from this picture that replays inside my brain has an interesting tie-down-anchoring affect in both my physical and spiritual life.   All young trees need to be anchored down while they are growing in order for them to become strong.  If a tree is tied down too tightly, the necessary resistance it needs to grow a strong enough trunk to bear the weight of its future branches is minimized. Trees can grown in the oddest of circumstances and even in harsh environments, but these elements can stifle their growth. Two of my trees grew crooked at the base of the trunk because my anchors were weak and due to high winds (in time they straightened up just fine and dandy, but the base still bears the permanent c-shape scars). On the other hand, neglect in anchoring trees can cause them to break in the wind and die.  Therefore, at a minimum, trees do best with at least two or three anchors.  Once the tree has been firmly grounded and strengthened by its bending and swaying, it’s roots are able to grow deep within the ground, giving it it’s own anchor of resistance.

We all need anchoring.  Ideally, two parents hold us steady in the wind, protecting us from the dangers we are incapable of withstanding alone.  Oppositional forces are necessary for our growth and development.  They make us stand stronger on our own when the time comes for the ties to be cut off.  We are now sturdy enough to bear the weight of our own branches and life’s heavy burdens we shall carry.  The anchors gave us the support when we needed it the most.  External forces strengthened us and now we can withstand greater opposition because we are firmly rooted.  The gospel of Jesus Christ does the same thing: All mankind is saved through His grace, but the demands of justice remained even though mercy was shown in our behalf:

“But know this: Truth, glorious truth, proclaims there is such a Mediator.

“‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’ (1 Tim. 2:5.)

“Through Him mercy can be fully extended to each of us without offending the eternal law of justice.

“This truth is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them.

“The extension of mercy will not be automatic. It will be through covenant with Him. It will be on His terms, His generous terms, which include, as an absolute essential, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.

“All mankind can be protected by the law of justice, and at once each of us individually may be extended the redeeming and healing blessing of mercy.  Aaronic Priesthood manual lesson 9 Justice and Mercy

The gospel of Jesus Christ anchors me with a firm foundation of repentance for a remission of my sins through His atoning sacrifice.  Adam fell that man can be, Christ atoned that man can be remitted from the original sin.  Because all mankind is in debt for this loan to the great creditor or Creator, an intercessory person was necessary to act in our behalf and to pay our debt. This was done by Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  Where Justice, Love and Mercy Meet

My neighbor’s tree metaphor really hits a cord with me.  There is not a single one of us who can escape life without pain and suffering.  Priesthood power holds us up against the blowing winds of resistance. Ropes and anchors are found within the binding ordinances and covenants we make with God.  We cannot see all things like God sees but it is through our faith and obedience that we are made wiser and stronger for following Him.   It’s up to us how we choose to allow opposition to affect us.  If we can see it as a means for our strengthening and conditioning, our roots can grow stronger and our branches broader. Our tree will be resilient and long-suffering.  What beautiful music to be heard at the judgement bar of God, COME UNTO CHRIST!



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