Just Keep Planting
When Paul was a boy growing up in Utah, he happened to
live near an old copper smelter, and the sulfur dioxide
that poured out of the refinery had made a desolate
wasteland out of what used to be a beautiful forest.
Paul vowed that some day he would bring back the life
to this land.
Many years later Paul was in the area, and he went to the
smelter office. He asked if they had any plans to bring
the trees back. The answer was "No." He asked them if they
would let him try to bring the trees back. Again, the answer
was "No." They didn't want him on their land. After praying
about the matter, Paul realized he needed to become more
knowledgeable before anyone would listen to him, so he went
to college to study botany.
At the college he met a professor who was an expert in Utah's
ecology. Unfortunately, Paul was told that the wasteland he
wanted to bring back was beyond hope. He was told that his
goal was foolish because even if he planted trees, and even
if they grew, the wind would only blow the seeds forty feet
per year, and that's all you'd get because there weren't any
birds or squirrels to spread the seeds, and the seeds from
those trees would need another thirty years before they
started producing seeds of their own. Therefore, it would
take approximately twenty thousand years to revegitate that
six-square-mile piece of earth. His teachers told him it
would be a waste of his life to try to do it. It just could
not be done.
So he tried to go on with his life. He got a job operating
heavy equipment, got married, and had some kids. However,
as a good Christian, he knew that "faith by itself, if not
accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17). So, he kept
studying about the subject, and prayed for guidance on the
matter. Then one night he felt led to take action by faith
alone. He would do what he could, and trust God to do the
rest. This was an important turning point.
Samuel Johnson wrote, "It is common to overlook what is near
by keeping the eye fixed on something remote. In the same
manner, present opportunities are neglected and attainable
good is slighted by minds busied in extensive ranges." Paul
stopped busying his mind in extensive ranges and looked at
what opportunities for attainable good were right in front
of him. Who among us hasn't wondered what God wants us to do
in our life here on earth? Under the cover of darkness, Paul
sneaked out into the wasteland with a backpack of seedlings
and started planting. For seven hours he planted seedlings.
He did it again a week later. And every week, he made his
secret journey into the wasteland and planted trees and
shrubs and grass. But most of it died. Like so many of our
hopes and dreams. However, Paul had faith, and kept planting.
For fifteen years he did this. When a whole valley of his
fir seedlings burned to the ground because of a careless
sheep-herder, Paul broke down and wept. Have any of you had
this kind of set-back in your life? I sure have! But Paul
got up, and kept planting.
Freezing winds and blistering heat, landslides and floods
and fires destroyed his work time and time again. But he
kept planting. One night he found a highway crew had come
and taken tons of dirt for a road grade, and all the plants
he painstakingly planted in that area were gone. I don't
know about you, but this sounds like the way things have
gone in my life. Time for some major prayers. Then Paul
Week after week, year after year he kept at it, against the
opinion of the authorities, against the trespassing laws,
against the devastation of road crews, against the wind and
rain and heat... even against plain common sense. He just
Slowly, very slowly, things began to take root. Then gophers
appeared. Then rabbits. Then porcupines. The copper smelter
eventually gave him permission, and later, as times were
changing and there was political pressure to clean up the
environment, the company actually hired Paul to do what he
was already doing. They even provided him with machinery and
crews to work with. Progress accelerated.
Now the place is fourteen thousand acres of trees, grass,
bushes, as well as all kinds of wildlife. Paul has now
received almost every environmental award Utah has. He says,
"I thought that if I got this started, when I was dead and
gone people would come and see it. I never thought I'd live
to see it myself!"
It took him until his hair turned white, but he managed to
keep that impossible vow he made to himself as a child.
What was/is it you want to do, that you think is impossible?
Paul's story sure gives a perspective on things, doesn't it?
The way you get something accomplished in this world is to
trust God for guidance, and just keep planting. He will
show you the way if you have faith, and keep working. Just
keep plugging away at it one day at a time for a long time,
no matter who criticizes or laughs at you, no matter how
long it takes, no matter how many times you fall. Get back
up again, keep trusting God, and just keep planting.
Addendum -- Mark 9:23 "Jesus said to him, 'If you can
believe, all things are possible to him who believes'."
[ Anonymous ]
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