By Robert White

Dr. Robert White was raised in central Florida and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. After college, he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. For more than 40 years he has served as pastor of churches in Florida and in Massachusetts. In October 2016, Dr. White joined Care For Pastors as a Pastoral Counselor/Coach. Robert currently resides with his wife, Kaye, in Leesburg, Florida.

    What a Tree Taught Me About Suffering

    Wednesday, April 19, 2023

    Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)

    An older man in our church had been ill for some time. He was recovering at home. I asked him if I could come by for a short visit. He said he would be happy to see me.

    As I drove up the long driveway to his house, I noticed a young tree that had been planted on the edge of his property. This older man came out of the house to greet me.  As I was getting out of the car, he said, “Did you notice the new tree at the edge of the property?”

    “Yes.” I said. “I noticed it was staked out for support.”

    “Do you know what I am doing to that tree?” He said.

    “Tell me.” I said.

    “I am suffering that tree.” He said.

    “I don’t know what that means.” I said.

    He proceeded to tell me what he meant. “Right now, the roots of that tree are running just below the surface of the soil. They are shallow. The first strong wind that comes along will blow it right over. That young tree thinks it needs water and nourishment.  But, if I give it water and nourishment, its roots will stay shallow. If I withhold the water and nourishment, it thinks it needs, then the roots of that young tree will grow down deep into the soil searching out water and nourishment. The roots will anchor that tree in the soil and the wind will not be able to blow it over.”

    Sometimes God withholds from us what we think we need. He wants our spiritual roots to grow down deep into Christ and find fresh spiritual water and rich nourishment for our souls. We will be anchored in Christ and the winds of adversity will not be able to blow us over.

    “Rooted and built up in him, established in the faith…”

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