Struck by Lightening: The Heart of the Matter, Part 12 — Our Response

by | May 4, 2017 | Discouragement, Hope, The Heart of the Matter

While on my trek through New Hampshire this past summer, I encountered quite an unusual sight. It was a Norwegian Spruce tree that had been struck by lightning many years ago. But instead of splitting in two or shriveling up like the ones we often encounter in forests, the lightning-struck limb on this tree grew into an enormous second tree! It was literally a tree with two trunks, and what was most amazing is that this second tree grew out of the truck of the older tree, about 3 meters above our heads, and the mother tree was still alive, firmly rooted in the ground, despite the added weight!

Most trees that have been hit by lightning die on the spot, with no hope of survival, but not this one. This tree took its dire circumstances as an opportunity for growth, growth that would make it even more beautiful than ever. Anyone who notices this tree and learns about its unfortunate turn of events will stand in awe. One tree among myriads that did not let its circumstances dominate it! Instead it took this impossible challenge as an opportunity for beautiful and unusual growth!

Too often we meet our challenges in life with hopelessness and discouragement. We look at others who are not faring any better than we are, and we wonder why we even go on. Our discouragement leads us to first abandon the love that we were starting to bestow around us in service of the One we thought we loved. Then bit by bit we tend to withdraw into our little inner shell, out of harm’s way. But the pain becomes even more intense, and instead of healing, we begin to die within, never to bloom again, utterly and desperately hopeless.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Too often we forget God’s Promises: “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Ps 30:5 NIV)

Our suffering is temporary. The sun will eventually shine again on our lives. God is not planning to abandon us! No way! We are so important to Him that He allowed His beloved son to die for us, so that we could experience His resurrection power in our lives!

However, too often we become conceited. Our hands are too full of worldliness and this hinders us from getting to know the One who calls Himself the Lover of our soul. We are so obsessed with on our ambitions that we tend to miss God’s presence in our midst. Only when we get rid of all the clutter will we eventually see more clearly what is truly more important in life, and especially how much God really loves us.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps 51:17 NIV)

Only when we are broken can we grow. Our pitiful offerings are meaningless to God. However a heart eager to be filled with love and hope is an opportunity for our Heavenly Father to enter our lives and fill them beyond measure!

The storms in our life are not here to destroy us. Rather they are here to give us opportunities to grow beyond what we thought was even possible. Instead of discouragement, let us meet these challenges with faith! Only then will we experience the impossible.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14 NIV)

Either we choose to shrivel and die away from the source of real love, or we take the challenges as opportunities of growing closer and deeper into that love that is flowing from our Heavenly Father.

“How well God must like you – you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College. Instead you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.” (Ps 1:1-3 The Message)

There is no discouragement for the hopeful! There are no worries where faith reigns. Our storms of life will either break us or spurt us into utter growth, depending on our own faith.

“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

(To access the entire “The Heart of the Matter” devotional series, please click here.)


Struck by Lightening: The Heart of the Matter, Part 12 — Our Response