Thursday, June 30, 2011

Deeply Rooted

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8
I've been trying to come up with a new name for our youth group, so I turned to my Bible for some inspiration. Technically, I turned to but same difference. I was trying to recall verses and stories I had read in my Bible, and find the specific addresses in the Bible. This passage has been one of my favorites for a long time. I can't really remember when I first read it, but I remember how I felt. Refreshed.
Like slowly drinking a cool glass of water on a very hot day, this verse just gets inside of me. I can picture such a tree in my mind. Maybe a weeping willow with long wispy branches reaching down to touch the water which gives it life. Maybe an apple tree with branches reaching high into the sky, providing shade, producing fruit, giving life. The imagery is refreshing. The idea is refreshing.
Letting roots grow deep and strong. My generation is a rootless one. Our friends change, our interests change, our phones change. My grandparents have lived in the same house for over 60 years, my grandmother has only lived in that valley in her 90 years of life. They know everyone on the mountain and in the hollow. Things have changed. We have starter houses, we switch neighborhoods, switch schools, switch friends, switch careers. Roots can't grow where things are always changing.
I long to be rooted by a riverbank, always producing fruit, but more than anything I don't want to be bothered by the heat or worried about droughts. That phrase really captures my heart right now. I worry about drought all the time. Not a literal one, but emotional and spiritual droughts. I worry that I don't have the same emotional experiences about God as I once did. It's a drought. But it's not permanent. A tree with strong roots by a riverbank knows that and just keeps standing, drawing on the strength and resources in its' roots until the drought is over.
I worry that prayers will go unanswered. I worry that this drought in my womb will never be healed. I wish I had an easy answer for that one. But I suppose there are years when trees don't bear fruit, or as much fruit. A tree with strong roots by a riverbank knows that and just keeps standing, knowing that the next year will be a bumper crop of blessings. My blessings may not be what I'm expecting, but God doesn't give us stones when we ask for bread. He will only give me good things, even if I'm not so sure at first.
I may not have roots in my neighborhood or even with old friends, but I can have roots in something far better. It's the difference between having roots in a puddle or in a riverbank. One will dry up and leave the roots with little to sustain the tree; the other will last into forever giving the tree plenty of nourishment. It's time to dig deep and let my roots sink into God's soil, soaking up the water He provides, and growing strong on His nourishment. It's time to be deeply rooted.
For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water,
      whose branches are refreshed with the dew.
Job 29:19
Oh, the joys of those who do not
      follow the advice of the wicked,
      or stand around with sinners,
      or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
      meditating on it day and night.
 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
      bearing fruit each season.
   Their leaves never wither,
      and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:1-3
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

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