A while ago while trekking through the Karura forest, different types of trees fascinated me. In most trees, there was a sticker showing both the English and native name. My attention was captured by a one giant tree and curiosity send me to my phone for further digging on that species. In my google expedition, I found another more amazing and giant tree of a different species (but same family) called the sequoia redwood.
These trees tower as much as 300 feet above the ground making them natural skyscrapers. Interestingly, the giants have unusually shallow root systems that reach out in all directions to capture the greatest amount of surface moisture. They only root from 12 to 14 feet deep even at maturity. A mature sequoia’s roots can occupy over 1 acre of earth and contain over 90,000 cubic feet of soil. That mass of matted roots and soil has to maintain the equilibrium of a tree that is nearly 300 feet tall and weighs nearly 900 tonnes. Their intertwining roots also provide support for each other against the storms. That’s why they usually grow in clusters. Seldom will you see a redwood standing alone, because high winds would quickly uproot it.
As I studied about the tree, I realized the much complicated root system was very necessary for support given the height and weight of the tree.
Support system; When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. (Exodus 17:12)
Here in the scripture above, Moses had his support system in place when God chose him to be the leader. Moses knew that there was no way he could lead without surrounding himself with the right people who will love, inspire, and encourage him. His arms became tired. So they first placed a large rock under him to sit down. Notice, they didn’t abandon him, or stand on the sideline to observe his leadership skills under pressure. Many a times when you are being swayed by the wind, others look on from afar to criticize, laugh with scorn, ridicule, or judge you. But, here we see the strength of a dynamic support system at its finest. They rolled a large rock with the sole purpose of putting Moses to sit on it. Then they held up his hands, one on the right and one on the left, until the sun went down.
Support is also what Jesus wanted from Peter, James, and John in Gethsemane as He faced Calvary (Matthew 26:37-38). On the cross as the world’s sin-bearer, He would experience His Father’s wrath and abandonment. That was the awful cup He prayed would be taken from Him. In that dark hour, He looked to His disciples for prayerful alertness and compassion. But oh, how they disappointed Him! The sight of His sleeping disciples must have made the isolation of Gethsemane that much more painful.
If Jesus looked to human support in His crisis hour, how much more do Christians need one another when they suffer! Let’s be willing to ask someone to pray for us and with us. And let’s be alert for opportunities to lend our support to others who are in need. Just like the sequoia redwood, no one can stand tall and firm without a strong support system.