General Sherman

Zechariah 13:9 — “I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (NLT).

General Sherman is a cut above the scores of sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park. With a height of 275 feet and a diameter of 25 feet, it weighs in at a whopping 2.7 million pounds and is an estimated 2,300-2,700 years old. General Sherman is the largest known living tree by volume on the planet.

Giant sequoia trees naturally grow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at elevations between 5,000-7,000 feet above sea level. At that elevation, the trees are provided with the rare combination of dry air and snow (water) they need in order to thrive. But even in these ideal conditions, I found it interesting that a sequoia’s health largely depends on fire.

Fire suppression helps sequoias release the seeds from their cones, recycle nutrients in the soil, reduce competition from other trees, and remove undergrowth. You could say fire has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in fortifying one of the world’s strongest living things—General Sherman.

Fire plays a similar role in the life of a believer. In Zechariah 13:9, God Himself said He will bring His people (you and me) through the fire in order to purify them. When you walk through the fire, be sure God has a purpose for it. He wants to burn up the things in your life that stunt growth and boost those things that stimulate health. Embrace the season you’re in and know God is making good use of it.

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