A fallen tree
DAMS…can be of many sizes and uses. Some are natural while others are man made. The vast majority are created for the purpose of conservation and flood control. The largest earth filled dam in the United States is Fort Peck Dam located on the Missouri River in Northeast Montana. It contains 125.6 million cubic yards of earth and was completed in 1940. Our tallest is Oroville Dam in northern California, being 770.5 feet tall completed in 1968. Of course, dams also create large lakes where fish and wildlife live and thrive.
I was recently visiting Jeff Swope and we were discussing our families. He showed me this photo of two of his grandsons with their dad along a stream. As you can see, they were exploring a fallen tree across the creek. It may have been there for many years. It was creating a natural dam with much debris piling up behind and under it. The tree was every boy’s dream as they can traverse the water on foot using the fallen tree as a bridge. Jeff said his grandsons prayed with their dad that God would create more trees to replace that fallen one. How special.
As would happen, I asked Jeff to forward the photo as I sensed a life message from it. Actually, several! First of all, here is a dad spending time with his young boys, exploring together, creating opportunities for teaching moments. It’s hard to duplicate that on an iPhone. Just saying. But what really spoke to me is the result of the fallen nature of this large tree.
Two things. Dad, your kids are trying to traverse many obstacles in their young lives. This tree, based on how it fell, became a bridge. You as a dad will be that for them in many instances. Your wisdom, along with availability, maybe a listening ear, will be their bridge across or through many trials. Sometimes they may need to climb on your back and have you carry them; maybe just a steady hand, or simply standing there with them, encouraging them on.
Or it’s possible that due to your busyness, being unavailable, otherwise occupied, you have become that dam in their life, Yes, so much is being backed up in their life development that looks a lot like the debris in this photo. Uncertainty, confusion, self-esteem, aloneness, you name it. That stream reflects the life lessons that are attempting to flow through your children, at every age. Might you be that which is standing in the way, jamming up their lives? This photo reflects both. Which are you, the bridge or the dam? You have a choice. Their future depends on your choice.
Scripture speaks to us fathers, young and old alike, even grandfathers. “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed” (Prov. 3. 13-18 ESV).
Dads, you have a vast reservoir of wisdom stored up in you. Open the locks of the dam, release it, let if flow through you and into the next generation. That is discipleship, and that’s what Jesus commanded us to do; to be the bridge, not the dam. Envision it, embrace it, engage in it—your children’s future depends on it. They are depending on you. NOW!!!