When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Devastation from Within

Until I moved to my mountain home, I had never heard of a bark beetle.  The bark beetle is not very big.  It is only about 1/8th of an inch long or about the size of a single match head.  The beetles attack trees by boring through the bark and laying eggs. When the eggs hatch,the larvae feed on the soft inner bark. Also, the beetles introduce a “blue-stain” fungus that spreads and clogs the water conducting tissues in the inner tree and hastens the death. Once the insects mature, they leave the infested tree and travel to a new one. Usually, they travel only a short distance, but they are capable of moving up to ½ mile or more.

Normally, the insects only kill about 2% of the trees.  The sap in the adult pine and juniper trees will push the beetles out.  But, sadly, we have had several years of drought in our forests.  The loss of trees can be as high as 90% in some areas.  Especially on the south facing slopes.

If you take a close look, you can see all the gray, dead trees on the mountain.

This is what a bark beetle can do.

They are named "bark beetles" because they live and feed underneath the tree's bark. People often wonder how such a small insect can kill a tree. A single beetle alone cannot kill a tree. The key is the condition of the tree and number of beetles that attack it. While stressed trees are the most susceptible, even healthy trees can be overcome by a "mass attack" from many beetles. 

The adults bore through the bark, mate and lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the numerous larvae then begin feeding on the inner bark, girdling the tree. Additionally, as the adult beetles colonize the tree, they introduce a blue stain fungus that blocks the water conducting cells. This prevents water from getting to the tree crown. As a result, the foliage begins to fade from green to light green or yellow and finally changes to bright red as the needles die. Eventually the red color fades as the needles begin to fall off the tree and you are left with a colorless dead tree.

Such a tiny insect that has helped to cause the death of literally millions of trees in the Arizona and New Mexico areas. One simple, little, uncontrolled insect.

Sin is like that insect. No one starts sinning by committing the most "major" infractions. You don't go from total righteousness to adultery in one simple step. You start by doing one small thing at a time. You might decide you are not happy at church. You might quit serving. You might start wearing revealing clothes, reading women's magazines, watching R rated movies. You will begin to justify your descent. You will find reasons to continue with your activities. You may never quite reach the "major" sin, but you will be lost along the way with all of the little ones that are making your spirit unhealthy. All the "little" sins that are girdling your tree. The ones that keep you from feeling your Heavenly Father's love. Remember that the most important part of "standing strong" is not letting Satan have his hold over any part of your life. You can't fall unless you let him in. The devil never "makes" you do anything. You give away your agency through the choices you make. You choose to invite him under your bark. You choose to let him block the spirit from your life. You choose to listen to him whisper, "you are not good enough. You have made so many mistakes that you can never go back. He doesn't love you anymore. You are so filthy that no one can love you."

"All the water in the world, however hard it tries, can never sink the smallest ship unless it gets inside.
all the evil in the world, the blackest kind of sin, can never hurt you one least bit unless you let it in."

Think for a moment, just who you are listening to. Think about what he really wants. Then ask yourself, just who are you going to believe? Are you going to listen to the one who wants to see you fail, whatever the cost? Or are you going to listen to the One who already suffered for your mistakes? Who knew what you would do? The One who made it possible for you to return home.

Again, the choice is yours. All you have to do is look around at the loss on my beautiful mountains to see the devastation that comes from letting something in. To see the cost of sin.

Look what happens when you let him in.

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing! Divine, even, really! Here I am a perfect stranger who decided to click on the Mormon Mommy Blogger button on my blog for the FIRST TIME (even though it's been there for so long!). I scrolled down and saw your post. Saw that you were a mother of 11 and thought, "Click on her blog". So I did. And this post? It's amazing! I'll tell you why: In 2002 I lived in the White Mountains of AZ, in Show Low, during the devastating Rodeo Chedeski fires. Much of the hugeness of those fires was due to the bark beetle, and I taught a lesson on the symbolism of the beetle, the forest, and sin, just like you just wrote about! I have blown up photos and everything. Then, this week I was asked to teach in YW and thought I would teach that same lesson, and pulled out my photos from my lesson folder. It's been on my mind, and then today I find this post! I think it's the right lesson! I think we're on the right track!

    Bless you. :)