Face the Elements
Nature wonderfully testifies that adverse conditions are often valuable in the development of some types of trees and plants. While fire is one of the forest's great enemies, it actually helps certain kinds of seeds to grow. The cones of some pines do not open until they are touched by the flames. Likewise, the Christian's faith and character are often strengthened by life's trials.

A distinguished botanist who was exiled from his native land obtained work as a gardener. On one occasion his employer received a valuable plant but was unfamiliar with its nature and needs. When he placed it in the hothouse under the glare of the sun, it soon began to wilt. It appeared to by dying. So the new gardener was asked to examine it. Quickly identifying its origin, he explained, "This is an arctic plant which cannot thrive in this tropical heat." He immediately took it outside and exposed it to the frost, heaping pieces of ice around the flowerpot. Before long it became healthy and flourished again.

Christian character is developed in many ways. Some believers, when they are placed in the comfortable and sheltered atmosphere of earthly warmth, pleasure, and luxury, begin to lose their spiritual vitality. On the other hand, if they are faced with the icy winds of life and chilling temptations, they soon revive and renew their strength and make firm their commitment to God.