by David DeFord
Rather than tear us down, our struggles against
challenges can fortify us and build us up.
In the midst of times of drought and lowered
water tables, trees extend their roots deeper to find
life-sustaining water. If a tree has never experienced
drought, it must sink its roots several feet deeper
before it can get to the needed water. But if it has
lived through periodic droughts, its roots are already
deep enough to reach the lowered water table.
Likewise, a tree that has never experienced high
winds may not have the root strength to withstand
intense storms. Trees adapt to wind. They spread
their roots broader and deeper in order to establish
Trees accustomed to drought and high winds are
better prepared for the extremes of weather than
those whose lives have been pampered by artificial
sources of water or have been sheltered from the
They become stronger because of their challenges.
These weathered trees live longer, grow taller, and
cast shadows on their weaker neighbors.
Every one of us will face periods of drought and
intense winds. We will all experience the uncomfor-
table, insecure times of adversity. We can shrivel and
give in to the challenges, or we can extend our roots
deeper to find solutions. We can allow the winds of
adversity to uproot us from our dreams, or we can
strengthen our foundations and stand firm.
David O. MacKay explained it this way,
“Sometimes the things that hold you down are the things that hold
you up. One time or another we all face adversity’s
chilling wind. One man flees from it, and like an
unresisting kite, falls to the ground.
“Another yields no retreating inch and the wind
that would destroy him lifts him as readily to the
“We are not measured by the trials we meet, only
by those we overcome.”
I challenge you to use the winds of challenge to
lift yourself to greater heights.
The faster the pitch the farther the ball will fly when
we solidly connect. The more difficult the challenge,
the greater the reward for meeting it squarely.
We are continually faced with great opportunities
brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
Strength does not come from winning. Your
struggles develop your strengths. When you go
through hardships and decide not to surrender, that
is strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger
When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in
two ways—either by losing hope and falling into
self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to
find our inner strength. The Dalai Lama
Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world
as much as adversity. Billy Graham
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