Just three hours from where I grew up is Sequoia National Park, home to one of the most magnificent forests on the planet. General Sherman, the tallest and largest tree on earth, stands nearly 30 stories tall. It is around 2,500 years old. General Sherman began to grow about the time the Jews were taken into captivity in Babylon. It is the most massive living thing in the world. Although it only grows one millimeter per year, that growth translates into new wood equal to that of all the wood in a 50-foot tree! The Giant Sequoias don’t have a tap root like most trees, instead they have a massive root system that spreads out to 300 feet around the tree. Even though the roots are very shallow, they sustain the tree by spreading out and connecting with other trees, giving stability to the tall giants. This intertwining of the roots is one of the ways the trees share resources like water, thereby protecting them in times of drought. Many predators try to damage the trees, such as disease, insects, and especially fire, but a very thick bark protects them from most of this. However, not all fire is dangerous for the trees. The Sequoias benefit from fire. Each cone contains 2,000 seeds, some 400,000 per tree, but it takes the heat of a fire to open up the cones and drop the seeds. The fire clears the soil and makes it ready for a new tree to grow. Seeds can lie dormant for up to 20 years before dropping in a soil that is fertilized by the ash left from the fire.
Creation is evidence of a creator and of our need to recognize him. God has made us dependent on him, and once we realize that, our life changes for the better. A fruitful life is a process that requires our trust in God and cooperation with each other. We were made to be connected to God and each other, and only then do we grow and produce fruit. That fruit rarely comes until we have experienced the trials of life and maintained our trust in God.
Trust prefaces the Christian life. Missionary John Patton to the New Hebrides Islands had difficulty translating the word trust since he could not find a similar word in their language. While he was looking for a way to convey trust, he was leaning back in his chair. He finally translated it by saying trust is leaning back on Jesus with all your weight. This kind of trust is the essence of the Christian life. First, we trust Jesus to save us and wash away our sin. Secondly, we trust him to lead us through life. Thirdly, we trust him with eternity; as a result, we experience peace.
The Apostle Peter tells us to: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The very act of casting our anxieties on the Lord means that we are asking for his assistance and trusting him to help us. We acknowledge that the worry and anxiety are too heavy to carry alone. The Apostle Paul gave us a spiritual recipe for dealing with anxiety: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).