What I love about summers in Columbia, S.C. are the blooming plants; not the temperatures. I recently planted lantana—one of the few things deer don’t seem to gobble up. I was careful not to damage the root systems as they went into the ground; knowing that healthy roots guarantee growth.
In a recent post, I said we should be careful to not let our roots grow too deeply in this world http://tranquiliving.com/how-to-live-in-opposing-worlds/. Here, I’ll go a bit deeper on the subject of roots.
I love to ponder the many analogies the Bible uses about roots. Enormous trees and their invisible webs of life underground, create a beautiful picture of my roots in Christ that still grow and deepen after so many years. In the same way those trees have weathered storms for hundreds of years, our spiritual roots keep us steady during our storms in life.
After a lifetime of living in coastal areas and enduring many hurricanes, we’ve watched trees with shallow roots topple over and the deeply rooted trees survive.
Roots connect a tree to its source
Roots connect a tree to its life source by absorbing water, oxygen and minerals. Its leaves and fruit will die if those things are lacking. The thicker roots in a tree are covered with thousands of finer roots and root hairs that help the main roots absorb more nutrients from the soil.
As Christians, the quality and depth of our roots determine how connected we are to our life Source—Jesus. Prayer, fellowship and time in God’s word strengthen our roots. A deep connection to Jesus ensures life to the full. If we primarily focus on the world’s political and pop culture, we will find ourselves skewed away from the centrality of the Gospel.
Roots offer stability
Roots anchor a plant to the ground so it can endure strong winds and heavy rains. The roots provide stability and a firm base for the entire tree. A maple tree, for example, has a root system that is mostly hidden underground and can be as extensive and broad as the crown of the tree. It’s longest roots may grow as deep as the tree is tall.
Our roots will hold us fast in our storms which will surely come. It’s crucial to know what we believe so that we’ll be prepared for challenges. Being rooted in Jesus directs how we live our lives, how we make decisions and how we relate to others. For instance, my reading and internalizing Scripture over many years has solidified what I believe and prepared me for times I’ve worked closely with people who don’t agree with my Christian faith. Because of my core beliefs, I can love them, live freely around them, and have a ready answer to their questions.
Roots help a tree adapt to different environments
Roots are able to adapt to varying environments and can store reserves for more difficult seasons. In dry arid climates, roots penetrate to a much deeper level, looking for moisture. Some desert shrubs have roots that extend into the earth as deeply as 230 feet.
Change is a part of life; often a difficult part. Through deaths of family members, betrayal and divorce, painful experiences with beloved children, and difficult geographical moves, my roots in Jesus have grown so much deeper. God showed me many years ago that I would survive and thrive no matter what I experienced because I was planted in Him. Storms and difficulties are not fun; but honestly, during my hardest times I grew exponentially closer to Jesus.
Roots positively affect the soil around them
Root systems also benefit the earth by holding soil in place during strong weather. When roots die, their waste breaks down into particles that fertilize the soil. Roots help absorb and cleanse water through transpiration, the process of water absorption through roots, transferred into the plant and released by evaporation through the leaf pores.
When we are deeply rooted in Jesus—in love—we affect the environment around us.
Cursed is the one who trusts in human strength and the abilities of mere mortals. His very heart strays from the Eternal. He is like a little shrub in the desert that never grows; he will see no good thing come his way. He will live in a desert wasteland, a barren land of salt where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in Me alone: the Eternal will be his confidence. He is like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots beside the stream. It does not fear the heat or even drought. Its leaves stay green and its fruit is dependable, no matter what it faces. Jeremiah 17:5-8
In Palestine, tree and plant life are threatened by heat and drought. Knowing this, we can better appreciate the beauty and spiritual reality of Jeremiah’s analogy of a person’s trust in the Lord being like a tree whose roots sustain it in adverse conditions.
Continue to journey with Jesus and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Colossians 2:6-7