No one wants to be a tumbleweed. Insignificant, without purpose or personality or potential. A nuisance. Lost.
Redwoods. They have significance, are statuesque. They grow in groves to amazing heights and girths, and, despite small footprints relative to their overall size, survive storms and winds for centuries in communities where their root systems interlock, giving them stability and longevity that they would never have if they were to stand alone.
Everyone would like to be among the redwoods. Tall and beautiful. Held together with others in a cathedral of shaded protection. Content. A destination for those who seek rest.
God desires that no one should tumble like a weed – and that all would thrive like redwoods. Jesus died to rescue us all from the doom of living only to die, alone and without purpose in the world. Those who have the Holy Spirit in their lives, and hold eternal life in their present and future because they have taken hold of all that Jesus offers them, live tall and well in the community of heaven. This is God's plan, to grow people into a happy garden of health and grandeur.
Then, there are Bristlecone pines. These grow slowly, alone or in tight clusters, above the treeline where little else is found but sun and rock and snow. Blasted by wind and storms, their gnarled shapes bear the assymetrical wounds of hardship; broken limbs, scarred bark.
So few pines at elevation. Many seeds and cones can germinate and grow there, but few do.
These trees don't do anything that others trees don't do - they grow using water, sunlight and nutrients. They just do it in a place where other trees don't - closer to the sun in the rarified atmosphere, in a place of solitude. These trees may not seem as tall as the redwoods, but they, simply by their placement in the world, have roots thousands of feet above the tops of the tallest trees below.
Some of us will endure privation and personal isolation. Some will volunteer themselves into wilderness, and willingly enter into simplicity in separation from those in the forest. There is a rugged beauty and richness and maturity and blessing and perspective and strength that will come out of this type of prophetic, intimate life that will carry into eternity.
Perhaps God has differently called you to this, an elevated life. Are you willing to stand in lonely adversity? Will you accept isolation in exchange for the increased clarity of a panoramic view?
Are you willing to face privation and furious storms that those in the lower, protected groves won't feel? Are you able to cling tenaciously to, and derive all of your nourishment from, solid rock?
Are you willing to seem distorted, bent, unbalanced or broken compared to the trees in the forest, where life is cushy and normalized and less demanding? Are you willing to digest hardship into a composition of hard-wood strength as you stand against the powers of the air that those in the forest won't feel, see or understand?
If not, that's okay. A redwood is an awesome tree, a wonder of creation. Revel in all that you are. Inspire tumbleweeds to join you and grow into something better. But remember that there is a place, higher and harder, where you can go if you feel ready to be something other. Someday.