Archive for June 21st, 2006



High above the Owens Valley floor in East Central California, just north of Death Valley on the windswept slopes of the White Mountain Range lies an ancient Bristlecone Pine forest.  This forest contains some of the oldest known living things in the world, the gnarled and twisted Bristlecone Pines.  The oldest tree is estimated to be 4,700+ years old and has been rightfully named Methuselah, after the patriarch in the Bible.  Many of the trees living today were seedlings when the pyramids were being erected, full-grown in the time of Christ, and ancient patriarchs today.  These amazing trees have a unique secret for survival.  It’s called Adversity.

 The Bristlecone Pines are so amazing because they grow as twisted, gnarled, windswept trees at elevations around 10,000 feet and survive in extremely rough sandstone soil terrain.  The trees have short, dark green needles clustered together five needles to a bunch, and many still produce cones at the end of their branches.  Invasions from bacteria, fungus or insects that prey upon most plants are unknown to the bristlecone due to their dense, highly resinous wood. The dry air common in the subalpine region helps preserve the trees from rotting. This last week, Mike and I had the privilege of visiting this grove of aged ancients.  The drive up to the top was rather pleasant with isolated roads slowly meandering up to astounding heights.  As we neared the top and saw the striking contrast between the depth of the valley floor and the dramatic rise of the snow-capped Sierras towards the west, it nearly took my breath away.  My eyes were fastened to this panorama of majestic beauty.  When we reached the Schulman Grove and visitor center, and I saw my first glimpse of these trees, they were misshapen and contorted just like the pictures.  But they did have a desolate beauty about them, and I couldn’t help but admire them for the hardness they had endured for centuries.  Near the entrance to the visitor center, I noticed a sign with these words on it: 

“Sweet are the uses of adversity”  ~ Shakespeare

 I was reminded of a scripture in Romans 1:20 that says “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…..”.   I could see how God uses objects in His creation to show us Spiritual truths.  As I began to think of some of the adversities I had experienced in my life, I wondered if I was bearing up under them as well as these Bristlecone Pines had done.  As the Bristle cones withstand the invasions of bacteria, fungus and insects, was I withstanding the invasion of the enemy’s fiery darts of bitterness, apathy and complacency?  Every day I must ask God to search my heart and make me more like these ancient patriarchs who have survived the tests of time and adversity. 

By:  Karen Mester

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  2 Corinthians 4:17

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 In my favorite poetry book called, "The Best Loved Poems of the American People", I ran across this poem years ago.  It has become one of my favorites.  I like to read it when I'm feeling anxious or troubled over situations in life.  Hope you like it.

The Town of Don't-You-Worry

There's a town called Don't-You-Worry,
On the banks of River Smile;
Where the Cheer-Up and Be-Happy
Blossom sweetly all the while.
Where the Never-Grumble flower
Blooms beside the fragrant Try,
And the Ne'er-Give-Up and Patience
Point their faces to the sky.

In the valley of Contentment,
In the province of I-Will,
You will find this lovely city,
At the foot of No-Fret Hill.
There are thoroughfares delightful
In this very charming town,
And on every hand are shade trees
Named the Very-Seldom-Frown.

Rustic benches quite enticing
You'll find scattered here and there,
And to each a vine is clinging
Called the Frequent-Earnest-Prayer.
Everybody there is happy
And is singing all the while,
In the town of Don't-You-Worry,
On the banks of River Smile.

I. J. Bartlett

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