Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. – Philippians 4:13 (The Message)

There once was an old man who wore overalls and a straw hat. He smiled a lot and his smile matched his hat – old, crinkly and well worn. He never yelled at kids who played in his yard. His house sat on ten acres, and his life-goal was to make it a forest. He had some interesting theories concerning trees. He came from the “No pain, no gain” school of horticulture. He never watered his new trees. He said that watering trees spoiled them, and that if you watered them, the next generation of trees would grow weaker and weaker. You have to make things rough for them and weed out the “weenie” trees early on. He talked about how watering trees made for shallow roots, and how trees that weren’t watered had to grow deep roots in search of moisture.


So he never watered his trees. He’d plant an oak and, instead of watering it every morning, he’d beat it with a rolled up newspaper. Smack! Smack! Pow! When asked why he did that, he said it was to get the tree’s attention. The old man died, but those trees were granite-strong, big and robust. Those trees woke up in the morning, beat their chests and drank their coffee black!


Some people plant trees, carry water to them, spray them, pray over them, do everything but tuck them into bed every night and even consider that. What they get is sissy trees - trees that are unable to deal with anything. With the first big wind they’ll topple. Funny thing about the old man’s trees - adversity and deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways comfort and ease never could.


So often we pray “Lord, spare me from the hardships of life.” But we need to recognize the inevitability of life’s cold winds. Our praying to be spared them is naïve, since there’s always one blowing somewhere. Life is tough whether we want it to be or not. Too many times we pray for ease, but that’s a prayer that’s seldom answered. Let’s pray “Lord, make my roots grow deep, so they can draw from the hidden sources of the eternal God.” What we need is for God to smack us with a newspaper every once in a while so when the real tough times come, we’ll be ready. ray “Lord, make my roots grow deep, so they can draw from the hidden sources of the eternal God.” What we need is for God to smack us with a newspaper every once in a while so when the real tough times come, we’ll be ready.