Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Un-Girdling Life

     A beautiful tree in my yard suffered when I left a rope tied to its trunk. Years of illness leave many things undone, and gardening was one of them.
     The tree continued to grow around the rope until it was so embedded, it caused girdling, a condition where the entire trunk is cut off from nutrients and water needed from the roots. It's a circular interruption in the bark and most important top layers of the tree's trunk.
     The only way to save the tree was to cut into the trunk and remove the rope. I used a small knife to do this and found black mold and disease around the entire area. The instructions I found for repairing the trunk involved cutting away at the area to smooth the edges and then cutting an oval shape within a few inches of the wound. It seems like a lot of cutting when all I wanted to do was minimize the damage and slap some gooey salve on.
     Although it seems soothing, the salve is not good for any tree and can deter healing. The cutting--well that's what will instigate the tree to heal itself from within. But the area below where the rope strangled the trunk was much thinner than above. The tree looked like a good wind would surely break the weakest spot. Still, I damaged and scraped.
     This spring, I noticed the trunk still looks awful, but the black area is almost gone, and the trunk took the long winter dormancy and grew out from where I so painfully cut away. It's almost the same thickness all around and has promising buds ready to burst. Even the last ferocious wind storm we had didn't sway it from remaining upright.
     Un-girdle your life. Although we hate pain and trials, they will heal us from the inside out.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5 NIV

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Storms, No Trials, No Vigor

     I lived in Arizona when Biosphere 2 was being built. The project was meant to simulate life on another planet, such as Mars, to determine if it were possible. The Biosphere 2 project is nestled along the desert hills of Oracle, Arizona. It opened its door to four men and four women in September of 1991. The wealthy Texan who funded the project was said to be a bit eccentric, and some thought he may have wanted to see if Biosphere 2 could provide a self-sustaining environment. Whether he thought it would be great for planetary travel and habitation or was seeking a remedy for possible world degradation, the project failed, and in 2007, the University of Arizona bought and rescued the property. Public tours are conducted there, and portions of the facility are still used for education.
     There is a small detail about the Biosphere that is particularly interesting. Several habitats were established, and they contained foliage designed to replicate their origins. A problem developed with the trees in each setting: they succumbed to etiolation (a sickly state that drains the trees of vigor and coloring) and weakness caused by lack of stress wood. Stress wood is a tree’s stronger fibers that normally are created in response to wind and storms in natural conditions. 
     No storms, no trials, no vigor. 
After that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish,
strengthen, settle you. —1 Peter 5:10 KJV 
A prayer from Charles H. Spurgeon:
May your faith be no “baseless fabric of a vision,” but may it be
builded of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume
the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite. May you be rooted and
grounded in love. May your convictions be deep, your love real, your
desires earnest. May your whole life be so settled and established that
all the blasts of hell and all the storms of earth shall never be able
to remove you. 

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