You see the picture on the right? Some
people look at this picture and see the determination of the tree pushing through the rock, to grow past it’s boundaries. overcoming its adversities. I can understand that view. I respect it. Sometimes we have to push through difficult times in our lives. But there is a tendency to rate our worth by it. We applaud someone’s fortitude as they drive through, and seemingly split that insurmountable barrier. As much as we like to be encouraging, I see the other side of it too.
Especially on Facebook.
People judge and mock those who seem to stand still or who can’t bust through. They’re failure is directly tied to what they couldn’t do. We do tend to judge people we either hardly know or barely see in this way. We’d rather hang with the persistent ones, the winners, the over-comers. Of course, it doesn’t take much to turn our admiration to condemnation. We love a good comeback story, just don’t mess up again. Plenty of celebrities to choose from in that department.
In the end, our love of those that “push through” is about how good it makes us feel, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone loves a good story of determination and overcoming obstacles. But, I know that part of our inherent nature relishes in public failures, because they do the same thing. It makes us feel like we are better than them, even a little. We love to say how we would’ve handed it, how we wouldn’t have failed like that. I’m gonna be honest here and call myself out on this too. I like to feel good, and it feels good to think you got a handle on life better than some “loser”, who squandered what he had. Here’s a secret though; I’m a loser too, and I don’t have it more together then the next guy. I just like to pretend I do. Something that is more than likely true of most, if not all people.
Now, let me offer a different perspective…
When I see that tree, that… life, bursting forth from that boulder, I see something different.
I see life growing out from a broken vessel. A life God created, and called his own. A life that could not grow unless God deemed it possible. It’s not the tree’s determination that caused the breakthrough, but God’s good grace that allowed life to come from in-between such a broken thing. It seems like an impossible task for life to come from it. but there it is.
Then I think…
I am that broken thing, and so are you. It’s God’s grace that he allows you and I, perpetually broken vessels, to be saved by his good will, and to even be a blessing to others, despite our “cracks”. That he would allow life to grow out of this broken thing that sits in front of his computer, typing these words, or from you, who sits on the other side, reading them.
Most of all, I see life growing up, out, and through a broken and battered Savior. A life, my life, that could not have thrived UNLESS it passed through the work of this broken and battered Savior.
This tree reminds me of Christ, who hung on a tree for our sake, and this rock reminds me how we are hidden in him, this “stone of offense”. It reminds me how broken we are, and how broken our friends and family can be, and how reconciliation and restoration can grow out of that brokenness.
I encourage you to see yourself NOT as a determined tree rising up, but as the life that God cultivates and empowers to grow out of this broken vessel. Now, go spend time with others. Be a league of the broken, which includes our spouses and siblings, our children and friends, our bosses and co-workers.
Go, be broken, and find a life that grows from that.