Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer
Park rangers may have set the flat stones in a stairstep pattern that curved up the small rise, but whoever it was, I appreciated their efforts.
The path led to a lonely juniper standing boldly against a piercingly blue sky. A picturesque pose just asking to be photographed.
I climbed the stone steps, but when I reached the top, the picture changed dramatically, for the juniper was gnarled and knotted, anything but elegant.
It grew out of the rock formation, leaning sideways, parallel to the ground, and its branches shot skyward from its twisted trunk. Not at all the lovely tree I had perceived from below.
From my higher perspective, the juniper’s curving trunk framed a cluster of golden cottonwoods across the draw, flaming along a mountain creek. Yet as beautiful as they were, the cottonwoods did not inspire me like the old, weathered conifer.
The cottonwoods grew easily by the water, unencumbered and unopposed. The juniper had fought a lengthy battle to survive its location. It showed me that the rock and the hard place could also be fertile ground.
I knew what it felt like to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The tongue-in-cheek cliché is typically a go-to phrase when times are tough.
When I feel wedged in a difficult situation, pressed upon by immovable obstacles and opposition, I begin to doubt that I can do what I thought I was called to do. Other people are so much better at what I aspire to. Why should I push against the hard place? Why should I try?
But God is not hampered in His purposes by mere surroundings. And sometimes He has to move me to change my perspective. It’s then I see the possibilities in situations I never would have seen otherwise.
Lord, please help me to not underestimate Your ability to use me wherever I am, wherever You have placed me, whether it is lovely or lonely. Thank You for Your provision in whatever my surroundings may be. *Amen.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
*From Day Sixty-Five in Always Before Me – 90 Story-Devotions for Women
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