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Becoming a Spiritual Redwood

redwoods 2Did you know that a California redwood can grow taller than the Empire State Building or the US Capitol…be up to 2200 years old and still living…and weigh over 1500 tons? I didn’t. So when Pastor Rene spoke about developing redwood tree faith, the picture came clear.

Bola Taylor is one of the spiritual redwoods I know. She and her husband, Ken, are missionaries in Japan. They have stayed in our guest house several times over the past few years and have become dear friends. Six months ago Bola was diagnosed with cancer. We had high hopes following her surgery, which the doctors thought was successful. However, the cancer has returned with a vengeance and there is nothing further that can be done for her medically. Bola is now on hospice care.

Check out this link to learn more.

But Bola is a spiritual redwood. Spiritual redwoods grow strong and tall for several reasons:

  • Practical Bible reading and application. ” … listen to my instructions and follow them …” Matthew 7:24

Bola has spent time in God’s word daily for many years. That time of listening, and applying His word has built her faith so that she is confident in whatever God chooses to do in her life–or death.

  • Positive relationships. “…believers…met in small groups in homes…” Acts 2:46. While a redwood is one of the tallest trees, its roots are shallow, going down only 6-12 feet. However, they spread out up to 100 feet from the tree trunk, winding around and fusing to build a strong base to withstand storms, fire, and other challenges.

Bola and Ken have made decisions of how to move forward with Bola’s need for hospice, within the context of prayer and conversation with close friends in the faith.

  • Use the gifts God has given you “to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” I Peter 4:10

Bola sent a video message to Twin Lakes Church this week. In it she was asked how she has dealt with having a terminal illness. Bola said we all have a choice as to how we respond to challenges, and that choice is continuous. As for her, “I choose Jesus.” She encourages me, and multitudes of others, with her faith walk.

  • Pivotal circumstances. Rene shared how often tragedy, difficulties, challenges give us “…another opportunity to believe…” in Jesus. (John 11:15b)

Although weak, Bola performed her final concert Monday evening, on her birthday. She has not succumbed to hopelessness but is instead committed to showing those she loves how to die with hope and a future.

Who are the spiritual redwoods in your life?

I need to apply some of these lessons, especially having a more consistent time in the Word. How are you allowing God to build you into a spiritual redwood?




  1. MarJean Peters says:

    Beautiful tribute! Thank you for sharing her life. I especially like the part about the roots growing wide into relationships to stay strong and upright. How true!!!

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you Jeannie. I’m glad Bola’s example is meaningful to you too. Yes, Pastor Rene had five people stand in a circle, unconnected, on stage. You could see he could easily push any of them over. But when they interlocked their arms he could not make them fall. Beautiful example.

  2. Columba Smith says:

    I was so inspired by Bola’s words, shared on video at church. I think the area God wants to use to help me grow is positive relationships. I’m so BUSY all the time! I want to make more time for friends and family.

    1. carolnl says:

      That sounds like a wise plan, Columba. The picture of the redwoods’ interlocking roots was a great expression of our need for spiritual roots intertwined with others. Will pray that you find a way to make this happen. Blessings!

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