When Trees Come Down

“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 1 Corinthians 10:12

In the Fall of 2000 the Muskoka’s were battered by powerful winds. At Sparrow Lake dozens of trees fell under the onslaught of the winds. One large pine crushed the bunkie and smashed through the roof of Hugh and Marnie’s cottage. Fortunately nobody was there at the time.

Later, as I stood with Hugh staring in disbelief at the damage, I was struck by the fact that no tree just suddenly breaks apart. When I examined where it had snapped off near the base of the trunk it was obvious that no one could have known ahead of time that the fall was inevitable. The pith and heartwood of the tree had died and although the sapwood, bark, and external appearance of the tree looked healthy, the internal decay had been present for years.

It can be like that with humans. Everything can look healthy on the outside but the core of an individual can be diseased or even dead. Sin is like that. It erodes from the inside out. Slowly and silently it eats away and destroys the very fibre of a person’s being. In many cases no one notices. Life goes on as usual, even for decades, but then, when the winds of adversity blow, something snaps and everything comes crashing down.

Nobody was injured when the trees at Sparrow Lake fell, but when people fall there are always injuries. Sin is no respecter of persons. Family, friends, fellow believers, and even distant acquaintances can be hurt.

At Hugh and Marnie’s cottage the damage was quickly dealt with. The tree was reduced to firewood after a few hours of work with a chainsaw. Shingles and gutters on the roof were replaced, ceilings patched, the bunkie cleared away, and the other damage appropriately handled. But people aren’t property. It’s not as easy to clean away the debris and damage of a life that’s come crashing down.

“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

1 Corinthians 10:12. You may look good on the outside, may even be producing fruit, but never forget that strength comes from the core. You must look after the part that no one else can see. Look within. Don’t close today’s reading with a shrug. Spend a few minutes scrutinizing your life. Ask yourself, “How is it with the pith of my being? Is there any moral decay? Have I made any compromises? How is it with my soul?” And hide nothing. For if you fail to be healthy on the inside, the collapse that will ultimately come will cost immeasurably more than any damage caused by a fallen tree.

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