“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…” – Philippians 1:29
Picture the trees on the face of a coastal cliff. You might notice that they’re growing at an angle, and are often more dense on the side of the tree leaning in the direction of the wind. In colder regions, not only are trees pummeled by wind, but they experience often subzero temperatures in the colder season, leading to a condition called Krummholz—“a type of stunted, deformed vegetation… shaped by continual exposure to fierce, freezing winds. Under these conditions, trees can only survive where they are sheltered by rock formations or snow cover” (source: en.wikipedia).
Paul is telling us that we will often experience this Krummholz effect in our lives. Challenges and tribulations will hit us hard (harder often than if we weren’t a Christian at all, for we are to suffer for His sake, cf. Rom 8:18, 2 Tim 3:12). What I think is so brilliant about Krummholz is that the trees simply can’t survive without some sort of shelter or blockade. Christ is that blockade for us. He strengthens us and allows us a way to persevere (and took away the threat of death on the cross for us). How cool is that?
>>Purpose Statement #8: We must continue to persevere for the furtherance of the Gospel through all trials and sufferings.<<
And remember, God is with you through it all. Don’t ever doubt that. Hold steadfast in the times of Krummholz.
“‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’” – Jeremiah 1:9
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12