There was something different about the property we approached. Then I saw it. A once tall palm tree near the edge of the lot was now lying on its side. It had been upright when we had passed by this way the previous week. There had been a little wind but nothing I thought was powerful enough to topple a tree.
Drawing nearer I could see the entire root ball still attached to the tree. Then I understood the reason for its fall.
The tangle of roots was multiple but they were also thin and short. To have strength to endure they would need to be thick and strong. Without a deep anchor the necessary stability was not present.
Strong, deep roots are also important in my life. They give me the stability to endure the storms of life.
My roots have become much stronger since my life took on the nourishment that Jesus provides. The more I spend time with him, the deeper my roots become.
Over the years I have encountered some strong storms in my life that threatened to topple me. Before I committed my life to Jesus I would have fallen. Now I am rooted in Him. The winds of adversity may cause me to bend but my deep faith tells me Jesus will help me remain upright and strong.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8 NIV)
A heavy rain had fallen overnight. We woke up to the promise of a brighter day and headed outside to breathe in the fresh, clean air that follows a summer rain.
While the ground was still damp, my husband started pulling weeds that had sprung up in our flower beds. I tackled the ones growing between the paving stones. It didn’t take long to appreciate the difference damp soil makes.
When I gently tugged, the entire root of the weed emerged from the ground. I was happy to know my efforts were eliminating the problem and not just a temporary solution.
Previous weeding experience hadn’t gone as well. When the ground was dry, often only the portion above ground broke off. Things would look better for a short time until the root produced new growth and the weed once again became visible. Hard, unyielding soil gives those kinds of results.
The analogy was not lost on me. When my attitude is hard and unyielding, the root of bitterness and discontent grows. I may be able to hide it for a short time, but it keeps reappearing.
Jesus is the master gardener who is able to get to the root of the problem. His tender loving care softens my heart so the once flourishing roots of my unhealthy behaviour can be eliminated.
When I submit fully to Jesus, there is no risk of one of these roots being left behind. He is the one who can probe to the depths of my heart, remove my sins, and give me a clean start.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” (Romans 4: 7-8 NLT)
I did a double-take. What I was seeing didn’t seem right, but there it was. A weed was poking up in the middle of some artificial grass!
The turf had an open weave backing to allowing moisture to drain through. The weed took advantage of an area it could work its way through and was now in plain view. I wonder how long it persevered, working its way towards the light of day.
I saw this weed as an analogy of the bad habits in my life. They may be hidden from view for quite some time, but eventually, will work their way to the surface. Without warning, they will break through and become visible for all to see.
My intention is to keep you from seeing these. That’s why I covered the unflattering things with an artificial layer in the first place. Although I pretend what is hidden doesn’t exist, I know that sooner or later the truth will come to light and I’ll have to deal with it.
When it does, will I quickly cover it up to keep growing or will I remove the problem at its root? The first option is a temporary solution. It may seem easier to start with but I’ll always be wondering where and when those nasty weeds will pop up again.
The second option takes more work initially. I need to be willing to peel back the perfect looking surface and do some hard digging. Only then can I get to the root of the problem. If it’s more than I can deal with on my own, I may even need to enlist some help.
My peace of mind won’t return until the weed is eliminated. It’s time for me to get my hands dirty and start digging. How do you deal with the weeds in your life?
“I don’t want to be overdramatic about it, but I’m starting to see a lot of my bad habits get the best of me.” Ben Gibbard
While driving the long, flat roads of the Canadian Prairies I frequently saw tumbleweeds rolling across the road. Some would make it into a neighbouring field but many others got caught on the barbed wire fences that bordered the highway.
Wikipedia describes tumbleweeds as a structural part of the above-ground anatomy of a number of species of plants. Once the plant is mature and dry it detaches from its root or stem, and tumbles away in the wind.
This made me think of times in life I have detached from my roots and tumbled along aimlessly. With nothing to hold me down I was free to go where the wind might take me. It also meant I had no direction and could end up stuck in places I hadn’t wanted to be.
A better choice is to keep my roots firmly anchored in The Lord. When I mature in my relationship with him, I will not become dry and detached. He promises to guide me and satisfy my needs like a well-watered garden. No longer will I be like a tumbleweed.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11 NIV)