I saw a funny story the other day by Wayne Rice:
Disney’s Chip and Dale always got the best of Donald Duck. In one of those cartoons, those pesky chipmunks were taunting him from their little tree hole, about 15′ above the ground. Putting on some spiked shoes, Donald Duck attempted to climb the tree. Fuming and muttering he reached the hole. In a Flash Chip and Dale untie his shoes, and he falls to the ground…Next, he tries using a ladder. When he reaches the top Chip and Dale pushed the ladder over, and Donald tumbles down…..For a 3rd assault on the tree he straps a rocket to his back and launches towards the top of the tree. No use. Chip and Dale jolt the rocket off course, and it crashes with Donald Duck still attached… Finally, Donald Duck decides to chop the tree down. With steam coming out of his ears he snatches a big ax and started swinging. Every time the ax hits the tree chip and Dale shake in their perch. In agitated chatter they wonder how to save themselves this time! Meanwhile the tree begins to fall and Donald Duck quacks with glee, certain of his success. Then for no apparent reason the tree not only stops falling but it begins to right itself again. A furious Donald circles the tree, trying to figure out the reason why. The cartoonist reveals it all. Inside the hollow tree. Chip and Dale are pushing with all their might to upright the tree!
This story makes us laugh! We know that it’s impossible to push the tree up from inside the tree! As the tree was falling, their pushing was useless because they had nothing to lean on for leverage. To stop their tree from falling, they would have to brace themself against something…. and it can not be the tree or their own willpower.
How about you?
Have you been (or perhaps you are right now) in a tree that seems to be falling?
Try as you may, you can’t get it back upright by your own power.
Maybe it’s a coronavirus tree with the weight of health issues, financial issues, loneliness, fear, relationship struggles….and the tree seems to be falling. By your own strength, you push as hard as you can, but a crash seems inevitable!
Maybe you are not struggling from corona issues but something else is cutting down your tree…maybe emotional, financial, or relationship struggles…Maybe they have been there for years…and things seem to be crashing all around you.
The biggest question for you to answer is… who or what are you leaning on??? If it’s your willpower, good looks, money, or a rabbit’s foot… the result will come crashing down upon you.
I would like to point you to the One to lean on…. The Solid Rock of Jesus Christ! You can lean on Him to get your life upright and solid. He gives you His Word for time like this. After Moses died and Joshua was to lead the people into the promised land, it must have felt overwhelming…like the tree was falling…and where were Joshua and the people to lean? On God, His promises, and His Word!
Joshua 1:7-9…Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Isn’t that a great section of scripture? It gives us hope and direction for every struggle we face.
- Be strong and very courageous! Why? Because you can lean on the Lord…He will be with you wherever you go and whatever you face! He is there with you, for you to lean on and brace against. He is there on the good days and the not so good seasons of life. He wants to change your outlook, your self-image, your Hope, your purpose, and direction… and your next healthy steps.
- Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips. Make the commitment to get into God’s Word daily! For Joshua it was the Book of the Law (the first 5 books.) We have God’s Word in our Bibles, both the Law to guide us and show our sins…and the Gospel to bring us hope and show our Savior. The truth is that God hand made you and wants to spend eternity with you…but there is a problem! You (and I) sin, and that sin separates us from God. The good news is that God still loves you in spite of your sins! He sent His son (Jesus) to pay the price for your sins. Our relationship with God is restored! Our response to this free gift is to want to know what God’s plan for our lives is.
- meditate on it day and night. Don’t just read it, ask God to speak to you personally and into all of the situations that you face. Spend time and seek God’s guidance for your life. Sit quietly asking for God to speak to you through His Word.
- so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Knowing God’s Word is great…but doing what it says is what it’s really all about. Seek God’s will for you. Ask Him to guide your steps so that you can accomplish His plans for your life. Apply God’s Word to each situation you face.
- Then you will be prosperous and successful. For Christians “success” is measured by God’s definition, not the world’s definition. For Joshua it was to conquer the promised land. What is it that God wants to help you conquer? In what ways will you prosper? How will God use you to impact others? Will He use you to help someone else whose tree is falling?
- If left alone in our sin and weakness…we will fall…the tree will crash. And yet, God enables you through the promise of His Word to “be strong and courageous”…to face the day and whatever comes your way…not to inherit a piece of land like Joshua…but to inherit a place in God’s eternal kingdom!
- Pray that as you get into God’s Word, it will permeate your heart…and transform you into the person God hand made you to be.