Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Redwood Forest

"How to you chop down a redwood Dave?"... "You chip away at it."
-Alex Lee

First of all, thats my roomate. He was going all philosophical on me at the time about perfecting my awful snatch technique. But the more that I thought about it. The more it resonated with me. More often than not the things that keep coming back into my mind will make it up here eventually.

I've never seen a redwood in my life. Probably the biggest tree I have ever seen in my life is the gumball tree in my back yard that the tire swing hung from and that would force me into childhood labor when I had to go waste hours of my youth raking gumballs into a huge pile and setting them on fire. But because I've never seen one, I have to rely on pictures for the full affect of how big a redwood really is. I hope I get to see one one day. I like cool stuff in nature like that. I think it would be pretty cool to come across a tree that was hundreds of years old that it took 10 grown men to wrap their arms around. Thats a lot of firewood.

Now imagine cutting that gargantuan tree down. I'm not talking about with a chain saw either. I'm talking about the old fashioned way. Grow out your beard, put on your flannel, and get out your ax (See Paul Bunyan). I'm talking about a couple of hours in it looks like you're disabling and murdering the tree instead of chopping it down. I'm talking about blisters so bad on your hands that you're bleeding, the raw meat of your hands being exposed to the world before it is ready. I'm talking about your shoulders and arms just aching from swinging over, and over, and over. I'm talking about your hands feeling like they are going numb from hitting rock solid wood with every swing and that impact shooting through your body. I bet if we all went out and tried to chop down a redwood, more often than not we would walk away with the tree still standing.

So what is your redwood? What is that one thing in your life that you feel like you beat your body like a slave to do but just can't seem to do it? What is that one thing that if you could just find a way to do it, you would be more satisfied and more fulfilled than you could ever dream of? What is the deepest desire of your heart?

My redwood is living as a man of God in today's world that is full of sin and wickedness. Everywhere I look I see things that want to draw me off course. I see women. I see money. I see fame. I see glory. I see people idolizing other people and other things than Jesus. I hear other guys talk about girls. I hear songs talk about all sorts of things. I see women. I see money. I see status. I see fancy cars. I see big houses. I see women. I see money... But none of what I most commonly see is what I desire for my life. Yeah sure there are fleeting moments where I desire those things for an instant and then get mad at myself shortly thereafter. But thats not what I want for me. I want humility and strength in weakness. I want to invest my time and money into things of eternal value. I want to be able to commit myself to one woman and honor her like Jesus honors and loves His church. I want to be so in tune to God's word that it consumes my thoughts, words, and actions. I want to share the love of Jesus with others.

The more I sit here and think about what I believe are the characteristics of a man of God, and then sit here and think about who I am, the bigger the redwoods get in my mind, the smaller I get compared to them, and the more impossible it becomes to think about chopping one down. But thats the beauty of cutting one down. Its not supposed to be easy. And the closer you get to actually chopping it down, the closer you get to the whole thing coming down on top of you.

But what a calling that is. What a fulfilling life that would be. Not so that you could be proud and boastful in your own strength, power, or relentlessness, but to be able to stand before the One and say, I did it, I lived my life for Jesus, and I am happy. He was the reason I did what I did, said what I said, and was who I was.

How do you chop down a redwood?

You chip away at it. Fight it every day. Take it piece by piece. Swing for swing. Don't get discouraged, don't get frustrated. Keep swinging. Let the chips fly. Attack it from all sides like a beaver. Swing with frustration. Swing with endurance. Swing with love. Swing with desire. Swing with conviction.

Lets take a walk in the woods boys.

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