Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#42- Tell-Tale Rings

A Character story about faithfulness.

"This is nice to go for a walk and everything, Dad, but how come we're going through the woods?" Jason asked as they trudged through the decaying leaf bed in the cool spring air.
"I'll show you, Son, if I can find what I'm searching for," Mr. Jensen responded, looking intently along the forest floor.
"Well, maybe I can help you."
"I'm looking for a tree stump from a hardwood tree that has been recently cut."
"I wouldn't know hard wood from any other kind, but there are quite a few stumps up ahead in that clear area," Jason remarked, pointing through the newly formed leaves.
"Oh, good. Thanks. I guess it pays to look up once in a while," Mr. Jensen said with a chuckle. "These are probably stumps from trees cut for fire wood." They made their way to an open area where lay a sea of freshly severed stumps, appearing much like Lilly pads in a pond. Without a word Mr. Jensen examined one stump after the other. Jason knelt at the foot of an old stump to examine a fungus growing from the side.
"Here, Jason. Come over here," Mr. Jensen called. "I found a perfect specimen to show you."
Jason came running over to where his dad was kneeling. "What did you find?"
"I want you to look at the rings in this stump to see if you can tell me anything about this tree," Mr. Jensen said.
Jason looked at the stump a few moments. But at length he admitted that he couldn't see anything unusual about it.
"Actually, Jason, even though the tree is gone, we can tell a number of things about the history of this tree from what is left here. The bark tells us that it was an oak tree. The large number of rings indicates that it was rather old, although the exact age we couldn't determine."
"I thought every ring was for one year of growth," Jason responded.
"That is generally true. However, in a severe drought it may be that no ring will grow for a year. In fluctuating weather it may grow two rings. But we are pretty safe to guess that this tree began about. . . ah. . . ninety years ago. That means that it was growing this ring here when the second world war broke out," he said, pointing to one of the rings. "Now notice this: the rings in the middle are small on one side, and large on the other. Something caused the tree to grow at a slant. Perhaps this was caused when another tree fell against it. This lop-sided growth lasted for the next eight years."
"Some of these rings are bigger than others, too. What causes that?"
"Good question. If the tree failed to get sufficient sunshine or moisture, the rings will be smaller for it will not produce as much nutrition as it needs for normal growth. And look here. See this dark area on one side here? What do you suppose caused this?"
Jason scratched at the dark area of wood. "I suppose it might be some disease or something," he guessed.
Mr. Jensen smiled. "I don't think so. This was caused by bad charring during a forest fire. But notice how the wood was able to grow over the wound and to keep growing for another twenty years. And even these last years show a time of drought for eight years and then a time of abundant moisture for the last six." The two sat down on the stump now, gazing across the bare field. "Do you know why I wanted to show this to you, Jason?"
"I've been wondering," he confessed with a smile.
"You remember a few weeks ago when you asked me about the will of God for your life?"
"Well, I want this stump to leave an impression on your mind. You see, people are in some ways like trees. The things that come into our lives will affect our spiritual growth, and will influence where we go and what we do and how we think about things. And like this tree, we won't be able to hide these influences. God wants you, Jason, to determine to build your life around the principles of His Word. There is no need for a drought spiritually when we have the well of His Word."
"That's what I want to do, Dad."
"That's great, Son. These uneven rings in the center and this burned area also remind us of something. When God allows trials to come into our lives, whether big or little, these things can hurt us. But if we respond as this tree did, by accepting it but not being defeated by it, we can go on growing in the Lord. In fact, the very fire that scarred the trunk also produced fertilizer and more sunlight that no doubt aided this tree to grow these bigger rings for several years."
"That's a good example of Romans 8:28: God works all things together for good, isn't it?"
"It sure is. But remember the rest of that verse- it is 'to them that love God'. When we hate what God brings into our lives, this wrong response will usually show itself on our faces, and always in our words. Someone who is quick to thank the Lord is someone who has accepted God's will for their life, even if it wasn't what they would have chosen. So, the lesson is this: How you respond to God and obey him in your life will determine how you will grow as a Christian. And like this tree stump, others WILL be able to tell."
"Yeah, I see what you mean, Dad. And I really do want to please God in everything I do. Will you pray with me that I won't blow it?"
"I have been, and I sure will continue," Mr. Jensen said with a smile as he gave Jason's hair a ruffle.

QUESTION: If we can catch the chicken pox or the measles, we will (most of the time) build an immunity so that we won't catch these again. Why does this not happen with a cold?

Answer: It does. Once we catch a cold, we build an immunity to that kind of cold. The problem is that there are over 200 different viruses which cause a cold! That means that if you catch three colds each year, you should be pretty well over them all by the time you are 66 years old!