Roots

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Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the Lord.  He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. excerpts from Psalm 1.

A man tours an orange orchard in the midst of a drought.  The sky is endlessly dry. An irrigation line is broken, so the heavy limbs crack under the relentless sun.  The thirsty roots wither.  The trees are dying, the tour guide explains.  The drought has drained them dry.

The man asks many questions about the dying trees.  In response, the tour guide takes the man to his own orchard many miles away.  The trees grow sturdy and sweet in spite of the blaze of the fiery sky.  The man asks the tour guide what irrigation system he uses to conquer the drought’s power.

None, the tour guide responds.

How can that be?  Why are your trees so healthy? The man asks in wonder.

The tour guide explains.  When my trees were saplings, I periodically withheld moisture from them.  To survive, their roots grew deep and strong. The healthy roots sought the moisture they needed in the rich soil of deep earth. 

 It was a risk, the tour guide mused.  But now my orchard grows the deepest-rooted trees in the region.  Other orchards die in the drought, but mine have found nourishment in the depths of the earth, and they thrive.

What has God withheld from you?

Many years ago, God thundered a calling over me.  In the years after, life dried up.  Miscarriage, failure, loss, conflict, attack – my story withered and cracked.

Now, as God rains benedictions, my eyes widen in awe as I see the lush fruit of a mighty grace.  My roots have not failed.  I still stand.  Not because I am strong; I am only an orange tree under a sweltering sun.  But only, only because of amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  This mysterious grace has one source – the God who offers the cool waters of truth and life for those who will stretch strong to receive.

Are you an orange tree in a dying orchard?  Does your life drain away under the oppressive heat of a withering story?  Me too.  There is only one way to thrive in a drought – through the roots.  O, beloved, do not let yourself die under the blaze of suffering.  Oppressive sun cannot kill a tree with roots entwined deep into the endless well of Life.  Drought protection comes from within, from the strength of well-watered roots that feed life into limbs and leaves.  Stretch your roots down, down, down into the Word, into prayer, into community, into an intentional battle against the lies that scorch you. Wrap yourself around Truth and Life – they will course through your veins and strengthen you through your dry season.  

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, 
   whose confidence is in him. 
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 17:7-8.

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