Charles Spurgeon once told a wonderful and thought-provoking story that went something like this:
A small, lovely plant, but with inadequate development, grew beneath the shelter of a sprawling, old oak tree. Though dwarfed in the giant’s shadow, the little plant didn’t realize it, because he loved his position under the spreading limbs of his towering friend and cherished resting in his shadows. He appreciated the covering his noble friend cast and revered his peaceful place under the tree’s foliage.
One day, a woodsman came and, with his finely-honed ax, cut down the oak tree. The little plant bewailed the loss of his friend. But cried more for himself.
“Oh, my friend is gone. All my shelter from the storms and shade from the heat of the sun have departed. Now, the rain will beat down miserably upon me and the furious winds will snatch me up by the roots!”
An angel came and said, “No, precious one, God has a blessing for you. Now, the sun will give you the necessary nutrients you need and the rains will be more abundant than before, allowing all the growth you need. Now, your stunted appearance will burst forth and laugh in the sunshine. Soon, you will display a greater loveliness with heavenly flowers, which could never have blossomed while you were in the shade. Passersby will take notice and say, ‘My, how the little plant has grown! Look how glorious it has become with all the blossoms! It is no longer hidden in the shade; it leans into the sun.’”
God lovingly removes our comforts, advantages, opportunities, and, sometimes, our resources to make us better Christians. To remove what seems good and replace it with what is better. To prove our faith and trust in Him. And puts us to a test, to try our mettle.
Spurgeon said, “The Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service.”
The Lord’s commands test His soldiers with hard service just as nature’s elements test the mighty trees with severe storms. Because of the adverse trials, both become stronger.
The rough stones in our daily paths, the mighty waves of circumstances crashing against us, the lack of necessities, the steep climbs of the mountain heights of obedience, all these train us to grow by the conditions that come our way. These things fit us to be well-trained soldiers, strengthening us into prepared sentinels.
Only God knows the elements that make us grow strong, that fit us for battle.
God is fitting you to be one of His foot soldiers.
Do you bewail the removal of things in your life, or do you praise the Lord for a new outcome? Do you know He wants to bless you?