At the edge of a rocky overlook in the Appalachian foothills stands a lone two-hundred-year-old evergreen tree... Through the years, it has defied heavy snow, hailstorms, and the steady, westerly winds rising off the valley floor. From it's vulnerable view of endless ridges and valleys, it has seen conditions that would snap most trees in half. Nevertheless, it stands strong.
What's the secret?... The answer lies below the surface. For literally two centuries, the elements have hurled their assaults against the tree. But while storms raged on the outside, the tree quietly developed an inner support system to sustain it. Every gust of wind sent the roots sprawling deeper into the soil, expanding the tree's tenacious grip on the mountain...
We are all like trees subjected to the stormy elements of life. And when they come, we either snap or grow stronger. What makes the difference is not the ferocity of the storm but the depth of our [relationship with Christ].
-- adapted from Andy Stanley in “Like a Rock"