Breathe God

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
                                    Psalm 96:11-12(NIV)
There are not many places that you can see, hear, touch, taste and breath God.  There are places we get glimpses and places where we experience God, but where have you been where you are surrounded by Him?  I can think of a few:

Zion, Utah – hiking in the early morning to see the sunrise, snow on the ground, animals rustling in the distance, ice cold and eager to reach our destination.  The sun rises, the mountains turning rosy pink, orange and reds in the early morning light. Pure silence, you could hear God breathe.

Mount of Beatitudes, Israel – sitting on the hillside, reading from the Sermon on the Mount; long strands of wheat-like grass blowing as the wind came up off the Sea of Galilee. It was as if you could feel Gods breath as He softly blew the blades of grass shining golden brown in the setting sun.

And today ….. have you ever driven through the magnificent Redwood National Forest?  Or better yet walked among these gentle Giants?  Only God could make some thing so incredibly majestic.  Walking in the grove, surrounded by royalty, a babbling brook in the distance, birds calling out and the faintest rustle of leaves.  Peace.  As I walked in silence, I just kept thinking “breathe in God, breathe out the world.”  The Redwoods are the biggest living things on Earth. Heights of 370 feet and diameters of 30 feet are not uncommon. They can range in age from 700 to more than 2000 years—some of which were living when Jesus walked the shores of Galilee.  Today we walked among these ancient trees, some trees in the Prairie Creek grove were upwards of 2000 years old.  As you gazed up at those majestic 350 foot tall trees towering above you, you couldn’t help but be in awe – shear awe. God is present, breathe in.

Today, the trees taught me.  The trees tower hundreds of feet up into the sky! How are such gigantic living creations able to exist.  It is easy to assume that they must have incredibly strong root systems that penetrate deep into the earth to enable these colossal trees to grow and to remain strong.  What is amazing about these majestic redwood trees is that although they may reach hundreds of feet into the sky, their root systems often are relatively shallow.  Yet, they withstand raging fires, violent storms, and fierce winds. So what’s to prevent them from toppling over and being destroyed when diaster strikes? How do they survive? They survive because 1) they live in groves, and 2) the roots of the redwood trees grow outwards – actually holding one another up by interlocking with the roots of other trees, hence the groves. There is no tap root and the other roots may reach no deeper than 6-12 feet. The major roots are about 1 inch in diameter and they typically spread 50 to 80 feet. One way in which the trees are able to remain upright for millennia is by growing close together with other redwood trees, intermingling their root systems. Through holding on to one other, supporting one another, they are able to thrive and hold themselves up to reach their amazing heights! In other words they support each other. They couldn’t survive alone. That’s a wow! The analogy is obvious.

We walked among trees scared by fire but still standing strong. The fibrous bark, which may be up to 1 foot thick, contains tannin which provides protection against fire, insects, fungus, and diseases which might damage the tree.  The burning/charring of the bark actually makes the tree stronger and although burnt on the exterior, they remain inwardly strong and still standing!  Can you relate to that?

When a tree falls, it becomes part of the grove’s ecosystem and creates fertile ground for new growth.  Even the fallen tree’s roots can become new trees.  New growth continues, even though the tree appears to be destroyed. And the new tree originating from a root or burl are genetically identical to the original tree.

Finally, although the Redwood can reach heights of over 370 feet, they have one of the tiniest cones known to man.  They are a reminder that some of the biggest and most majestic things can come from the smallest beginnings.  The experience of walking through the redwoods is truly breathtaking — it is among the most magnificent sights a person can see. It was truly walking in God’s country … created by Him, in all its majesty.  It was a living, breathing ecosystem that grows, regenerates, withstands time and creates awe in the little people who walk within it.  Little people, BIG God.

I picked up a bookmark in the gift shop… ( ) are my comments.

ADVISE FROM A REDWOOD
  • Stand Tall and Proud
  • Sink Your Roots into the Earth (but don’t forget community)
  • Be Content with Your Natural Beauty
  • Drink Plenty of Water (a 200ft tree holds 34000lbs of water)
  • Enjoy the View! (God made it for you)