Many years ago, my oldest sister sent me a postcard from California that depicted a sequoia tree that was so magnificently large that they made a tunnel at the base of its trunk for cars to drive through. That image left an impression on me, and I knew I wanted to see it someday.
Fast-forward several years later; when the day finally came in which I thought I was going to see these famous trees for the first time, my plans abruptly changed when she and I were in a car accident, less than 24 hours after my arrival in northern California, and just a few days before our planned trip to the park.
I did not get to check that one off the bucket list until a few years later when I returned by myself to bring closure to an unfortunate event that took my sister’s life and changed mine forever. That was only one of the tragic events that happened that year but was the one that woke me up and helped me realize God had other plans for my life. Plans that I never imagined for myself.
Recently, my attention went back to the giant sequoias. With Earth Day in the rearview mirror, I thought it was a suitable time to share some information about them. According to the Giant-Sequoia website that the largest trees range 275-310 feet tall. The General Sherman, which is the largest tree on earth, is 52.500 cubic feet in volume.
With that in mind, and the original image of driving a car through the trunk of one of these massive trees, wouldn’t you think that the root system would go for miles down deep into the earth to secure these royal beauties? Quite the opposite is true. Not only do they begin as a tiny flat seed about the size of a pinhead, but their roots also actually only go down about 12-14 feet. What they lack in depth they make up for in their reach. According to the website, their roots are a matted, shallow, wide-spreading system that can occupy over one acre of earth and hold 90,000 cubic feet of soil.
This just adds another wow to my natural wonders and fabulous mysteries of God file. In my research, I found another site that compared their team to redwood trees. Susan Williamson, of the John Maxwell Team, describes themselves with similar characteristics to the sequoia roots- an army of men with arms interlocked, standing and supporting each other. Just as the roots of the trees intertwine with other redwood trees, they hold each other up and depend on each other for nutrients. Their roots are like arms locking, ready to help each other grow, and stand tall, as they reach for the sky.
This imagery is a model for how we are to stand together, unified in love, to help each other grow in spiritual maturity, so we can stand tall while keeping our focus on the kingdom of God and His righteousness. I hope you will plant a spiritual seed today for someone who needs to hear the good news of Christ. Even if you do not get to see the result, you can rest assured that God is working to bring others behind you to water it.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (I Cor. 3:6, ESV).