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I read one time about how shipbuilders back in the days of sailboats would prepare the masts for their ships. They would go to the forest and find an appropriate tree, then they would clear out all the surrounding trees and leave that one standing, leaving it exposed to the wind and storms.

As the tree continued to mature, it would gain strength. The kind of strength it would need to be able to stand up in the storms at sea while holding a large sail.

But that tree would never gain that strength if it was just left among the other trees. It developed strength because of the storms.

I believe that if we build our lives on the solid rock of Jesus and his words, then when the storms come, we will not only survive, we’ll gain strength.