“Strengthened by Rocks,” New Era, September 2017
A few years ago I went on a week-long trip to Guatemala to work at a hospital. Shortly after our arrival, we went on a tour of the hospital. We passed by a courtyard, where I saw a little citrus tree. I noticed that someone had attached several large rocks to the limbs of the tree with wires.
“What a strange way to decorate a tree!” I thought.
I was about to walk away when one of our team leaders came up to me. She explained that the rocks had been placed on the limbs of the tree to strengthen it. Each rock had been selected to place just enough weight on the limb to bend it but not break it. By growing stronger under the weight of their rocks, the limbs were preparing to support the weight of the fruit that the little citrus tree would bear throughout its life.
In a way, we are all like the little citrus tree. Our Heavenly Father is the Master Gardener. Each of us has a set of rocks that come in the form of trials and challenges. Although these rocks can be heavy, we can trust that we will never have a trial or a challenge that we are unable to bear with His help. The weight will bend us but never break us—if we stay faithful. And the added strength we gain through our trials and challenges prepares us to support the weight of the fruit we will bear throughout our lives as chosen sons and daughters of God.