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Strong Root System

Strong Root System

Hurricane Florence ransacked North Carolina a few weeks ago. My city experienced tropical storm and hurricane force winds, as well as, around three straight days of wind and rain. Since I am about four hours from the coast of North Carolina, we saw rivers and creeks flood, but the devastation could have much worse in our part of the state, and I know on parts of the North Carolina coast, they are still waiting to return home, waiting to see damage, and waiting for flood waters to recede.

In the middle of the long weekend of wind and rain we experienced, I suited up to walk the dogs. The least I could do was put on my rain boots and raincoat and let them stretch their legs since their outdoor time was going to be severely limited for the days ahead. Walking through our neighborhood, where we have tall pine trees, mighty maple trees, and a few oak trees, I noticed how the tallest and largest trees barely swayed with the tropical force winds blowing. Sure, their leaves flapped (and dropped in our yard) and their top skinny branches followed the wind, but their sturdy trunks held strong. Their roots held tightly. We lost some branches. But not a tree around us uprooted.

“Surely, they have deep root systems” I thought. Deep root systems are what kept our current trees standing strong. Their roots, that run deep and wide and are expansive, are what made it so no trees crashed down in the storm. A big tree with a root system that lacks girth can be blown over when wind blow. A small tree with an immature root system can topple over if it gets too much rain.

It’s just like our lives. What do we deepen our roots with? What do we deepen our roots into? If our lives don’t root down into deep, nourishing soil, we will be blown over when the storms of life come. If we root ourselves in our jobs, in money, in anything outside of Jesus Christ himself, we root ourselves in something that cannot support hurricane force winds. And oh, the winds will come. In a fallen world, one where evil runs rampant, the winds of life will, indeed, come.

But no one sees the roots deepening. No one sees the roots growing deeper. No one sees the way water and light and soil nourish the roots to be strong. Roots that run deep and wide support the entire tree – in calm seasons and in stormy seasons. Everyone sees when leaves are on the tree or when fruit is ready to pick, but no one sees the work that goes into all the nourishment of the tree.

Strong root systems are built over time. Time spent studying scripture and praying. They are built in solitude and in silence. Strong roots grow in counseling and in corporate worship. They’re strengthened by quiet time and thankfulness. They are multiplied by disciplines and when we walk in freedom. Our roots are stronger in a community that challenges us and shapes us and those roots grow deeper and wider and more freely when Scripture is being hidden in our hearts and worship is on our lips.

Paul writes to the church at Colossae, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7).

May we be people who root deeply in Christ Jesus, so when the storms of life come – and oh, they will come – our roots are what keep us firmly planted in the grace that has been so freely given to us.

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