If someone were to use your life as a platform from which to teach or preach, would you be able to hold up his or her weight, or would you collapse like an ant-infested tree stump?
Several years ago, before the opening session of our annual men’s retreat, I went for a walk in the woods to pray, and I spied what looked like the perfect platform to stand on. It was a huge stump from a massive tree that had been cut down close to the ground, and it looked like an ideal spot to stand, think, and pray.
Unfortunately, as I leaped on top of it, my feet sank several inches into a mushy, ant-infested mess. The massive tree trunk had been devoured from the inside, and despite its impressive appearance, it was a hollow shell that collapsed under the slightest pressure.
After I cleaned off the dust and debris, the experience struck me like a parable and caused me to ask some tough questions:
- Am I living a hollowed-out life, or is there enough substance in me to support the work that God is trying to do in and through me?
- Do I have any hidden areas that need to be exposed and confessed to a safe, appropriate person?
- Are there any wrongs in my past that I have yet to make right?
- Are any wood-eating ants chomping on my character from the inside out?
I think these are good questions, and I think times of quarantine and isolation are the perfect times to ask them. As we move through this moment and into a new season on the other side, let’s do what it takes to build lives that are solid all the way to our core.