“You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.”

art by Douglas Fryer

Growing up in Oregon, I’ve been lucky enough to see the giant sequoia trees many times. 

These trees are amazing.

They can live as long as 3,000 years,

They get as tall as 300 feet,

They only grow in a 60-mile band in California.

Another interesting fact? They need fire to reproduce.

Seems counterintuitive, right?

The early settlers in the area thought so, too.

They were awed by the giant trees,

So when they came to the area, they suppressed the fires in order to protect the trees from harm.

But not only does regular fires dry out and open the sequoia’s seeds,

Fire also burns away forest debris.

Without those regular fires, that debris built up.

So when fires do come, they are much more intense and actually do harm the trees. 

And meanwhile, the sequoias have weakened and struggled to reproduce. 

The “protection” wasn’t what the trees needed. 

They needed regular fire.

They needed opposition.

I was reminded of this as I read Moses 6. 

Verse 48 states, “Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.”

This is very similar in structure to the scripture “Adam fell that men might be, men are that they might have joy,” but not nearly as popular, for obvious reasons!

So…are we made to have joy or woe? 

At first, these may seem like contradictory scriptures. 

But then, I thought of what the Lord told Adam: “They taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good (Moses 6:55).

We, like those sequoia trees, need opposition in this life to grow.

As Dallin H. Oaks said, “Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.”

The bitter—the pain, the weakness, the sin— is part of the experience. It pushes us outside our comfort zone and towards improvement. It humbles us. And it provides contrast to help us recognize the sweetness of the Savior.

And through Him, we too can grow to our full height.

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