In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. (Ps. 22:4)

Some of our favorite vacations are the national parks that my wife and I visit. We have just returned from Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon where we, again, were astounded by the tenacious bristlecone pines. At six and seven thousand feet, these pines of the western United States are among the oldest living trees. Some are as much as 4,000 years old.

I am always astonished at the terrain in which they live. They are buffeted by bitterly cold winter winds; they survive the high dry air of their mountain homes. Perched on steep cliffs, clinging fiercely to boulders and outcroppings of the rocks, these gnarled and twisted trees live in the most inhospitable environment. Despite its seemingly fragile grasp, these bristlecones hold on. Strangely, the oldest trees are found in the worst terrain. The trees that are on the protected side of the mountain rarely survive more than a few hundred years.

Each time I see one of them, it reminds me of the perseverance, the strength, the hope that I must replicate. Hope is turning to God despite the distress, the shock, the ordeal that breaks in on life. It is a gift of God, filling life with assurance that heavenly love holds fast in good times and bad. When I feel things are getting too much for me, I remember these bristlecone pines.

Stand firm, cling tightly to faith when storms blow through your life.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who has served full time in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and his wife, Patty, currently live in Louisville, Kentucky.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.