by Mike Janz
One of my favourite places in the world is the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It rains there. A lot. It is one of the wettest places in the world. In fact, if you stay there long enough you begin to see that everything is always dripping. Tree leaves, house roofs, your clothes. It is also windy. Hurricane force winds regularly pound into the coast, bringing waves so powerful that it is common to see telephone pole size logs sent cart-wheeling through the surf towards the beach.
So why do I love this wet and windy place, at the end of the road, on the edge of a big empty ocean?
The place is beautiful, so beautiful that it almost hurts.
And it is beautiful because of all the wind and rain. The moisture rich forests there are such a deep green that when the light is just right the green seems to turn to black. The endless crash of waves upon the shore has formed soft and beautiful white sand beaches tucked between jagged headlands. When the sun comes out it makes you want to cry (because it is so beautiful and because it has been so long since you have seen sunshine).
This place has been shaped and made into what it is by the rugged environment. I see this most clearly in the trees. The trees there have had to fight to survive. They wrap their tendril roots around rocks that have long since had the soil washed off of them. Their branches sweep inland toward the mountains due to the constant pressure of the wind. Right along the coast you won’t find any trees growing in soil. They all grow on the rocks, and they not only survive, but are staggeringly beautiful as well. They have had to fight to survive. They have had to send their roots down deep, through cracks in the rocks, while hanging on to survive blasts of hurricane force winds.
The tree in this picture is near the village of Tofino on Vancouver Island. It struck me as a picture of what God wants of us. If we don’t grow our roots deep into the soil that feeds us true bread and provides life-giving water, it is likely that we will be blown around, and maybe even knocked down, by the storms that come our way. Sometimes we end up having no choice but to stand strong and plant ourselves in tough and rocky soil while storms send logs hurtling our direction. And if we hang onto the rock and dig deep for the soil that gives life, the results will likely be beautiful. We will probably end up with a few scars, some lines in our skin, and some stories to tell, but we will have lived and not simply existed. Those trees that have fought to survive, to find food and water, are to my eyes the most beautiful trees in the world. Their deep green needles, and twisted creviced bark are evidence of a lifetime spent hanging onto something firm, making their home on solid ground. I think Jesus said something about that being a good thing.