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Fertile Ground by Pastor Connie Day of Little Church in the Pines

Island Park News of Island Park, Idaho

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Snow covered trees signal the beginning of winter in Island Park. It doesn't matter what the calendar says. Winter is officially here. Last week I wrote about the falling leaves, but on Tuesday the big story was the falling snow. It covered the ground in a blanket of white, and graced the branches of the evergreen trees.

Evergreens are different from their cousins, the deciduous trees. They remain green all year, and seem to be a symbol of dependability, strength, and abiding faith. The evergreens do, of course, drop their needles; but it's a constant process that continues throughout the year. The deciduous trees lose their leaves in a dramatic and colorful display, but the evergreens are more subtle: dropping an occasional needle here and there. They are like people who have a deep and enduring faith. There is new growth each year, and there are things that are "let go" — not in a dramatic fashion, but as a part of everyday life.

After reading a bit about evergreens, I'm even more impressed with them than I was before. They stand firm and tall, even through the long, cold winters. Evergreens grow in places where many deciduous trees cannot. They have adapted to the shorter growing season of places like Island Park, and they are able to grow in soil that does not provide many nutrients. They are sustained by producing sugars, using the energy of the sun. Photosynthesis continues in these trees throughout the winter. If they didn't keep "working", they would die, because the soil simply does not provide the nutrients they need. So they keep soaking up the energy of the sun, each needle doing its part.

I am reminded of people who, despite the hard times they go through, keep trusting and hoping in God. They depend on the "Son" to keep them going, because they don't find the sustenance they need in the things of this earth. Their faith sustains them. They stand tall, despite the harsh conditions they must sometimes face. They grow, even when there are no apparent sources of nourishment for their souls. Like the evergreens that can grow in soil that has few nutrients, they do not depend on the things of the earth to keep them going. They depend on the power of the "Son." And they become, for all who see them, symbols of life, faith, steadfast hope and trust.

If you feel like you are "planted" in a place where nutrients are scarce, remember the evergreen trees. Don't depend on the people around you to give you what your soul needs. Sometimes they will. Sometimes they will lift you up and encourage you. Sometimes they will give you the love and hope that you need to keep going. But you can't depend on getting all that your soul needs from those around you. If you want to find true life that will never let you down, you have to look higher. The Son — Jesus-will never fail you. Even on the coldest, darkest days, He is there. Through His power, you can endure, even through the most difficult circumstances of life. Through His grace, you will grow, despite the lack of nutrients in your "soil". Keep looking to the Son, for in Him, you will find life.



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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015



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