This challenging season we are in is no fun. It’s really difficult to go through it. It seems so unnatural. People are supposed to go to work, kids are supposed to go to school and on weekends we’re supposed to go out and do fun stuff.

All this has made me think of an experience I had a couple of years ago. We visited the Mariposa Grove of Sequoia trees in California. Being able to see the world’s biggest trees in person was simply amazing. Redwoods may be taller but there is no larger tree than a Sequoia. You could easily drive a vehicle through the base of one of these trees.

The most unusual feature of the trees is the black burn marks on the base of them. Every tree has these marks and for good reason. Fire is what helps the trees to grow. When fire burns the underbrush, the Sequoia grows. They actually thrive on the fire scars. The tree can live even if it’s burned. The Sequoia can withstand fire because its bark is twenty-one inches thick. Only if the fire reaches the top of the tree will it die.

Even more remarkable is how new Sequoias are born. The only way there can be a new Sequoia is if their cone is opened and the seeds come out. There are up to 9100 tiny seeds in just one cone. But the cone will only open with tremendous heat. It takes a fire to produce enough heat to cause the cone to open and the seeds to be released.

A Sequoia takes 800 years to reach full growth and they live for up to 2000 years. Some of the trees I saw were around when Jesus lived on earth. But they only grow and reach their full potential if there is fire. Most forests are destroyed by fire, for Sequoias the fire is what makes them grow to be the biggest trees in the world.

No one wants to be in this Pandemic, just like no one wants to be in a fire. But this fire can help us grow. God wants us to grow to full maturity. He wants us to be huge spiritually. He wants us to have a long life of ministry for Him.

New life comes out of the fire of testing. We can choose who we will be when this Pandemic is over. See it as a second chance to be who God wants you to be.

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