Earlier this month, I experienced my first hurricane. Pat and I were on vacation in Cabo and Hurricane Newton hit our resort as a category 2 with destructive winds and sheets of rain. Y’all, it was amazing! As a woman who has lived her life land-locked, I was thrilled to be caught in the middle of it.
I’ve been told by my children that I can make a spiritual lesson out of just about anything, and although I’m pretty sure they don’t mean that as a compliment, there is an important lesson in the hurricane that I have thought about everyday since it passed on through. Please indulge me a minute while I share this treasure I learned.
When the sun rose and the winds and rain subsided, Pat and I walked out of our vacation home to survey the destruction. There was structural damage and some broken windows, but it was the palm trees that took the greatest hit. Most of the trees stayed erect, a few were completely toppled, and there were a few more that had been pushed to a leaning position by the wind. These trees had ½ their roots exposed, but they hadn’t completely fallen.
Hours later, the property staff had encircled the leaning trees with rope and tied them tightly to the trees that hadn’t been budged by the wind. With the support of the stronger tree, the leaning tree was straightened, supported and rooted back in the soil. I don’t know how long the ropes will be left tying the trees together, but I am confident, the ropes won’t be removed until the leaning tree is completely restored.
Like all of you, I have experienced some storms. In the past, I have been of the mindset to just grit it out. When I’m broken, I don’t want anyone to see my exposed roots and so I try to upright myself by spending time in prayer and scripture. Now… of course, our God is a healer and comforter who never leaves our side and can handle all our burdens, but this same God is a God of relationships who designed us for community. Relationships are of paramount importance to Jesus. He surrounded himself with good friends and best friends while he lived his purposeful life of sharing God’s Good News. He shared his pain and joy with these friends. When he was dying on the cross, he instructed his best friend and mother to be in relationship with each other (John 19:26-27) and when he ascended into heaven, he told everyone to engage with people everywhere and tell them about their love for him. (Acts 1:8)
If you are going through a storm and the winds and rain have left you battered with exposed roots, please offer your ropes of love and friendship to another friend who has survived their storm. We need Jesus, but we really also need people and people want to help. If you stay isolated, you are much more likely to topple over.
I was convicted a few years ago that I had not invested in deep friendships and so I purposefully pursued deepening my relationships with a few women that I had comfortable bonds with. God has blessed these relationships so beautifully and my heart overflows with thankfulness. We have been roped together and consistently help each other deepen our roots. As the storms come and go, I am so thankful to be tied to them. I know many of you are just as thankful for these friendships in your life. Celebrate them! Praise the Lord for them. If you are lacking these, get out your rope and go lasso a couple. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but the reward is so worth it.
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)