Updated: Aug 1, 2021
Last week, as I was driving to work, thoughts of oak trees and redwood trees popped into my mind. The strangeness of the thoughts led me to turn off the radio and meditate on them. I began to see these unusual impressions were from the Lord, since this is one of the ways He gets my attention.
I thought for a while, wondering what I was supposed to get out of the idea of oak and redwood trees. Redwoods are ginormous trees that grow in mountainous regions, in thick forests with other redwoods. An oak can grow either in a forest, a field, or a yard by itself.
Then I started thinking about the root system. According to my understanding, a redwood tree’s roots spread horizontally and intertwine with the roots of other redwoods nearby. This gives them the support system needed to stand. Without the root systems of other redwoods, it couldn’t stand on its own. A redwood is dependent upon other redwood trees. The oak, on the other hand, has a root system that spreads not only horizontally, but also vertically. IF the root system can intertwine with other trees, then it gets support from other trees. But it also has vertical tap roots that allow the oak to stand without depending on another tree’s root system. It can stand, and thrive, on its own when necessary.
My thoughts shifted again. IF I were like a redwood tree, an enemy could take me down without even having to touch me. You see, IF an enemy could take down the trees around me, whose roots I depend on to stand, then I would have nothing left for support, and the next big storm could easily take me down. The oak doesn’t have this problem. Its horizontal roots give support, but there is stronger support from the vertical roots, so it’s not so dependent on those around it.
Then I got to thinking - are we as people the same way? Do we allow our horizontal root system, (aka churches, small groups, counselors, friends, families, spouses, communities), to be our only support system? Are we vulnerable to the extent that if something were to happen to them and we no longer had their support, then would we also fall? Do we get so intwined with our spouse, so dependent on them, that if something should happen to them, we could collapse as well? We can grow quite tall and majestic with the encouragement of our support systems, but what happens when our support systems fail?
I believe a horizontal root system is very important for support, but it is imperative that a vertical root system be grown IN the Lord. This is needed so that I can stand, even if those around me, who I look to for support, should fall.
Another reason for being rooted in Christ is so that I can be a source of His support for those around me who need it. Jesus is the only One who can truly give us the support and strength to stand. His support and strength will help us stand with others, and more so when we are by ourselves.
Will I be someone who is intentionally growing my roots deep into Christ? Or will I stop short because I feel comfortable, good enough, just being attached to my brethren?
Which will you be - the redwood, or the oak? Will your roots stay shallow, or will you dedicate yourself to being deeply rooted in Christ?
Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer for spiritual strength where the Apostle Paul says, “…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…”
Grace and peace be with you.
Kevin Weston 03-09-2020
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