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Standing Tall

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 (NRSV)

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4(NRSV)

Janet Kratochvil lives in Indiana. When they moved to their current home, they learned that the redbud tree is very common there. They are often oddly shaped with gnarled trunks. Many have broken branches from storm damage. But in the spring, they are the first trees to bud; when their flowers open, they bring vibrant color to the dull, winter landscape.

One fall, Janet's husband transplanted a redbud sapling into their yard. Within a few months, a storm had broken its tallest branch. However, the young tree made it through the winter, and its remaining branch bloomed in the spring. It continues to grow tall to this day. God made the redbud tree to withstand all sorts of adversity, and it continues to be resilient.

Janet wants to be like those beautiful trees. When she is faced with hardship, she wants to trust in God her Creator. God has much good planned for us and can turn our struggles into blessings if we persevere. When hard times attack Janet, she wants to be strong enough to say to them, "You are helpless against me because God made me and I can overcome anything through God's power." With this faith, Janet can stand tall like the steadfast redbud trees. So can each of us, if we hold onto our faith.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for models of resilience and strength in nature. Empower us to persevere through our struggles, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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