“I knew that you would prove to be stubborn, as rigid as iron and unyielding as bronze.” (Isaiah 48:4)
A couple of weeks ago we were in Yorktown, Virginia and stopped to visit Grace Episcopal Church in the middle of the historic town.  The parish dates its origins to 1634 and the construction of its first building in 1697.  I’m told that the current church was rebuilt on the same site in 1920 along with the wall you see in the picture.  I was amazed by this tree.  I looked and looked but could not figure out if the wall was built around the tree or if the tree somehow engulfed the wall.  (I called the church to ask about the tree but they weren’t sure about its origins.)  One thing that is evident is that this tree is stubborn and unyielding.  Regardless of its origins the tree has stood its ground and engulfed this wall.
Sometimes stubbornness and unyieldingness are positive traits expressing the certitude and fortitude necessary to make or keep a stand.  In a key battle a general wants troops that are stubborn and unyielding.  In some situations a stubborn and unyielding faith is necessary to survive hardship and crisis.  Surely the stubbornness and unyieldingness of this tree has helped ensure its survival.

However, in the book of Isaiah, the Lord was not complimenting the Israelites when they were called, “stubborn, as rigid as iron and unyielding as bronze.”  In this case the Israelites were being called to task because they were too stubborn and rigid to see and admit they were headed down the wrong path.  They’re stubbornness, rigidity, and unyieldingness were setting them up for more pain and sorrow.  They could not stop, really listen, admit they’re mistake, seek forgiveness, and change course.  Instead, they insisted they were right and destroyed their relationship with God and their very lives.

I’ve met a few of those folks.  Even when they discover that they’re wrong they cling to their point.  Is it shame that they invested so much of themselves in the issue only to be proven wrong that keeps them lashed to a lie?  Is it fear of embarrassment?  Sometimes it takes more courage and grace to admit error than it does to stand stubbornly and unyieldingly on a false premise.

God’s grace invites honesty and offers healing and hope.  I pray for God’s wisdom to know when to stand unyieldingly and when to admit I’m wrong and ask for grace.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on October 5, 2011.

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