The picture below is NOT of 2-foot high Yucca plants growing on the side of sand dune.
Actually, they are 32-foot high Yucca plants. Yes, it’s true. You see, the base of these yuccas lies 30 feet below the encroaching sand dune. And between the ground below and top of the slowly moving sand dune is a 30-foot stem that connects the top of the Yucca to its roots. I would have thought, when the moving sand dune overcame these Yuccas, it would have buried and killed them. It just stands to reason. If a plant takes root at the edge of an encroaching dune field, then it runs a serious risk of burial.
Yet these Yuccas seem to have beaten the shifting sand at its own game. For the more the dune poured its sand over these Yuccas, the taller they grew by lengthening their stems.
Perhaps the Yuccas became a bit boastful because they’ve matched the height of the sand dune. In fact, they’ve used the sand dune to reach new heights.
Oh, yes, the other plants may have warned these Yuccas, “Stay away from those sand dunes or they’ll destroy you.” And when the sand dunes got closer and closer, and higher and higher, the Yuccas may have gotten a bit nervous. But the Yuccas were able to keep just a bit higher than the dunes—fast enough to keep the sand from burying them. “Because we can grow so fast, we’ve actually used the sand dune to rise to the top of the desert ladder, high above all the sagebrush, prickly pear, and tumbleweed. We’ve outsmarted the sand dunes and become towering plants because of them.”
But that very night I came across other Yuccas that had used the same strategy with a moving sand dune. But these Yuccas were pathetic. They had all fallen over and were dead or dying. The shifting sand—which they used to support their unnatural height—had moved on. Once the surrounding sand was gone, their long, wimpy stems could not hold up their own weight. Nor could they resist the desert winds.
Without realizing it, by using the sand dune to rise to new heights, the Yuccas were supported only by a long, skinny stem—and soft, shifting sand. Their towering size was a farce. Once the sand moved on, the Yuccas had no support and tumbled to the ground—and died. The “greatness” these Yuccas had reached was a deception.
I believe Jesus once warned us against building our hopes and dreams upon the shifting sand of material things, physical beauty and health, wealth, popularity, and fame (Matt. 7:24–27). Sure, all those things may help us to “reach new heights.” But they, like the shifting sand, will all pass away. And when they are gone, what will be left to support us? If our hopes go no further than this life, perhaps no further than our youth, beauty, health, and prosperity—then what will sustain us after they are all gone?
The Scripture says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. …The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15, 17).
Dear Father in heaven, please wean me from my dependency upon the approval of others. May my faith in You grow to such an extent that I will not depend on favorable circumstances, money, beauty, and health to make me happy. Help me to be generous toward You and my fellow human beings, that I may store up treasure in heaven, not upon the earth. Amen.