Sep. 21, 2022
Deep Roots or Shallow Waters
Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches, Because its root reached to abundant waters. Ezekiel 31:7 A stripe of brown and rust cut across the landscape with the illusion of a touch of fall. But this wasn’t the result of autumnal temperatures. It was…
Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches, Because its root reached to abundant waters. Ezekiel 31:7
A stripe of brown and rust cut across the landscape with the illusion of a touch of fall. But this wasn’t the result of autumnal temperatures. It was the announcement of death. Trees dying from thirst, their desperate condition evident against the green foliage still clinging to other trees standing farther away.
Why were only some of the trees dying? And why in so distinct a pattern as to make a distinct line?
The answer may be in their roots—or more exactly, where they placed their roots.
Here in our part of Texas, we have experienced the joy of rainfall after this extended drought. The sight of green grass has been a blessing to the eyes. We still need more rain, but for now, some life has been resurrected from the parched ground.
Before the rains started though, I noticed something that at first seemed perplexing. While there were trees dying all around, the largest and most obvious populations where the ones found nearest to the creeks or other places where water should normally be.
The trees growing farther away in fields and even on rocky slopes seemed to tenaciously hang on through the lack moisture, but those near dried up rivers, creeks, and ponds weren’t fairing so well.
Had those dying trees become dependent upon, and even expectant of, an easy supply of water?
They didn’t believe there would come a day when the place they found their security would dry up, so they hadn’t sunk their roots in deep. When the ease of accessing their ready resource evaporated, their lack of preparedness showed.
Isn’t this so like the people we encounter every day?
Isn’t it just like human nature to trust in the material world and its temporal offerings, instead of digging deeper into that which is eternal?
Whether we place our trust in career success, financial assets, popularity, family, health, friends, or fame in the end we are just “grasping the wind” as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes (see Ecclesiastes 4). It may that we can sustain them for a while, but it is ultimately beyond our ability to control them.
If these past few years have taught us anything, it’s that most of the worldly things we’ve trusted to be a source of security are unreliable. We cannot trust that our jobs won’t become non-essential, our savings won’t feel the pinch of inflation, or those we thought of as friends won’t turn hostile in the perpetually unstable waves of division and animosity. Most of us can’t even guarantee our churches won’t close.
Our eyes should be fully opened to just how little control we have over the things we look for to keep us safe.
If we’ve planted ourselves beside these easy waters, when the drought of unemployment or health crisis or the loneliness of isolation comes, what will sustain us?
Like those trees on the hillside, we must find a deeper more abiding source of life. If we determine to sink our roots into the depth of understanding and wisdom, drawing our substance from the unending reservoir of God’s love and truth, we can weather the storms (or the lack of rain).
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
When we are rooted in Christ, we do not fear the heat or succumb to anxiety in the drought. Instead, we stand like a beacon of light drawing others into the glory of God (see Matthew 5:14-16), continuing to yield fruit (see John 15:8).
We should be grateful to be planted in such a soil that our roots are forced to sink deeply into the love of God, allowing our entire life to be dependent upon Him alone.
Deep roots don’t grow in shallow waters.
What are some steps to take to become more deeply rooted in Christ?
1.) Read the Bible and know His word.
2.) Make daily prayer a habit.
3.) Recognize the things of this world you are holding onto for the sense of safety it offers or ask God to show you what these things are if you can’t think of any.
4.) Surender them to God and ask Him to sustain you with His provision–and then trust Him to do so!
What would you add to this list?
Used with permission of the author, Lori Altebaumer. To read more of Lori’s writing, visit www.lorialtebaumer.com.