A Tree to Hang Onto, When Life’s Storms Rage on

November 15, 2013 | 11 comments

A major storm hit our region back in June.

A few miles away from our front door, a teenage boy fell into the flood-swollen Beaver Creek. (I told the story about that boy over here at Ann Voskamp’s blog back in June.)

That boy was in danger of losing his life. His friends went for help, and found a man named John Lems, a retired firefighter.

John went down to the shore of Beaver Creek. But he didn’t do what you might think he’d do, in order to save a boy’s life. John didn’t throw the boy a life preserver or a rope or anything like that.

John knew that if the boy grabbed for a rope, he would have had to let go of the tree that was keeping him from going under fifteen feet of rushing water.

John said he could see how scared that boy was, and he knew how that river was awfully cold.

But he could also see this: He could see that the boy was strong. And that terrified boy would need to just. hang. on.

From the shore, John yelled to the boy: “Yes it’s cold! But I’m not going to throw you a rope! You’re going to be alright if you just hang on to that tree!’ ”

And so that boy hung on to the tree.

And he kept hanging on until the rescuers arrived.

When trouble comes – and trouble will come for all of us — when the river through your life swells and rages; or when the creek-bed cracks dry; when the storm marches across the sky, or maybe straight across your heart; you will be scared.

And it might feel cold. You might be tempted to grab for a sorry substitute, begging for the false hope of a rope.

But friend, you are strong. Hang on to the Tree that is even strongerHold tight to the tree that has already redeemed you, the tree that bore every ache you could fathom, the tree onto which every sin was nailed.

Hold on to the tree that held your Savior.

tree, Savior

There’s nothing on earth that can uproot that tree or snap the Savior’s promise for you. Don’t let go. 

You’ve already been rescued. The world and all its storms have already been overcome.

And when the storm passes by, you’ll find that the Calvary tree held firm.

You might be storm-stained and scarred and a bit broken, but look to the sky. For you’ll see it above you–

The heaving dark will have given way, at last, to the sun.

And you’ll know for sure, that the light has won.


Joining with Lisa-Jo Baker’s writing community. Lisa-Jo asked us to write about the word TREE this week.


Are you in a storm?

Let me pray for you.

Are you on the shore?

Look in the river, because others are in the fight of their life. Help them find the tree.

by | November 15, 2013 | 11 comments


  1. Susan (ThisHappyMom)

    What a beautiful reminder. I love how Lisa-Jo’s writing prompt has taken so many different twists today.

  2. Becky Daye

    “You’ve already been rescued”- beautiful!

  3. Karrilee Aggett

    “But friend, you are strong. Hang on to the Tree that is even stronger.” So much Amen, my friend! Just So Much.

  4. Holly Solomon Barrett

    Hang on to the Tree that is even stronger. Love. this. Thanks for a great reminder today, Jennifer!

  5. ro elliott

    I love…love …love this…great truth spoken here…I was just talking to my niece,who is going through a very dark night of her soul… I told her…Christ cried out too…”why have you forsake me”… But hang on…until you too get to the place where you will say…”into your hands I commit my Spirit”… I will hold on to this and share it when the time seems right…I love how God’s spirit weaves His truth into every situation ….blessings and have a great weekend!

  6. Rebecca

    This brought me to tears. There is nothing stronger to hold onto. Thank you.

  7. Megan Willome

    Thank you, Jennifer. I woke up at 5. Was at the church by 5:30, weeping and throwing myself in front of the altar. Did that for half an hour. That’s my version of your story. You were the “John,” telling me to hang on.

  8. Nancy Ruegg

    Oh, yes. Jesus brings us through the storms of life. Sometimes he infuses us with strength through people, as he did through John that day at Beaver Creek. Oftentimes he speaks encouragement and wisdom through his Word or other Christian writings. He’s even spoken to me with a song. Never does he leave us alone to struggle through on our own. Praise God, he is an attentive, caring Savior!

  9. Mia

    Dear Jennifer
    We often experience times in our lives when we are swept away by the storms of life, but we are promised in Isaiah that the waters will not drown us for we hold on to the tree of Calvary. Jesus walks with every step of the way holding our hands; this Rock of All Ages!
    Blessings XX

  10. Anita

    So thankful that everything we go through we can hold onto our Saviour who understands, who is perfect love and who is our Rock.. God bless, Jennifer.

  11. Kim @ Kim's County Line

    Beautiful Jennifer. I needed that reminder today.


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