On a recent visit with my in-laws, my mother-in-law was pointing out the great job that her gardener had done on the new landscaping and sprinkler system. But we noticed that the parkway planter area that held a large beautiful tree, was quite dry. She told us her gardener assured her, “Even though the soil doesn’t seem like it’s being watered enough from the top, the roots were getting plenty of water from the surrounding soil UNDER the ground.” He told her what to look out for with the tree to make sure it was growing and not suffering from lack of watering.
I have not been able to get that story out of my head for weeks now. And here I sit at a new coffee shop and I realize that the mural on the wall in front of me…it’s a painting of roots! Okay, Lord, I get it! I’m digging in!!
Jeremiah 17:8 say, “He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
This is exactly the verse that came to mind when my mother-in-law was telling us about her tree.
I would not say I have a green thumb…nor a black thumb…just hands that are really good at purchasing new plants when the old ones die. Why do you think they sell plants at the grocery store?! But I have managed to keep quite of few philodendrons alive (and mostly well) in my kitchen and living room. Indulge me a bit while I share my “gardening” observations.
I have six plants in my kitchen and four plants in my living room.
The 6 plants in my kitchen are fabulous!
One of them I received from a friend who was moving out of state and couldn’t take it with her…my “Jenn plant” has managed to stay alive and green for the 5 years since her family moved. I think it thrives because I notice it more and water it more often…it reminds me of my friend and I pray for her and her family every time I see it.
The larger plant on a stand by the window is the one that thrives the most. I believe because it’s closest to the sunlight, it grows the best. It has the benefit of weekly watering and is daily bathed with the rays from the sun. There are two other plants on the little kitchen sink window ledge that live well with partial sun as well.
Now, the two to the left of my kitchen window, that’s another story. They are in smaller pots, which means that there is not a lot of space for their roots to spread out. But the pots are just so cute…and the shelf they sit on doesn’t really have space for a larger vessel. They are little out of my line of sight, so I know I wait too long to water them. They look quite wilted and give me little hope that they will “spring back to life” just because I water them But every single time I take them down and give them a good watering, a few hours later I look up at them and they’ve been revived! It’s amazing what a little water can do!
Well, then there’s the plants in the living room. We don’t really get any sunlight in there, at least where I have the plants. Those pots are regularly the ones I have to repurchase new plants from the store. They start out full and lovely and after time, I’m watering pots of dirt with one stalk of three or four sad leaves on it. And they don’t perk up at all after the watering.
So what kind of plant are you?
Do you put yourself in a place where you are being watered and cared for? Do you soak in the sunlight when it’s available?
Do you slowly lose your stamina until there’s almost nothing left?
Or are you the tree planted with deep roots?
When we make the decision to stand firm in our relationship with the Lord, and let Him water the roots of our life in Him, we can withstand ANY kind of storm or drought. Even when the topsoil of our life is dry and dusty, we can still grow and bear fruit of who God is in our life. We need not fear anything because we know Who we are rooted in.
Taking time each day to be rooted in God’s Word ~ that is the only way to remain standing and not sway or break with the ever-changing moments life will bring.
Think of a palm tree. I’ve lived in Florida – palm trees galore. I’ve witnessed the strength and remarkable flexibility of these trees during storms. Being born and raised in Southern California, what is more iconic than the palm tree lined streets of the city suburbs and beaches? Here, the greatest characteristic of these trees is that depending on where they are planted, they are either straight and tall, or they seem crazily slanted…but both features are simply because they desire to be in the full gaze of the sun’s light.
Palm trees are amazing to me when you see them bending like crazy-straws during a hurricane but when the storm is over, it regains its composure. How? They have an incredibly fibrous root system that goes down into the ground very very deep. The palm has roots that keep growing, that continue to gain nutrients to sustain their life, and a leaf system that overlaps the branches all coming from one common trunk.
I mean, I am so excited just thinking about the similarities here between my life as a Christian and how God made palm trees. I mean, besides how cool they are, what a life lesson they are to us ~ and I know that God does not do anything haphazardly.
Do we remain steadfast and let our roots go deep with God? Do we yearn so earnestly to be in the light of the Son, that we may look a little like a “bendy-straw” to those looking at our life? Do we look like we’re going to simply break in half during the storm of life? Do we regain our strength and stand tall when the storm is over? Do we continue to bear fruit in the midst of a drought?
I know these plants.
Sometimes I contently sit in my “little pot” waiting to be watered but slowly dying inside because I don’t go where the sunlight will strengthen me. But I want more of those times when I’m seen, watered, and cared for by Gardener. Unlike a plant in a pot, I have to be an active participant in the watering!
I know this tree.
More and more I am the palm tree. I know the value of sticking close to God’s Word and burrowing deep so that the roots of my heart and soul are planted securely within the truths of the life He has intended for me to live.
I am this tree.
I’ve been the tree in the desert, the tree with the dry topsoil, the tree that still survives because the roots are deep. It doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. I don’t have the market cornered on staying strong in the midst of the storm. I just know that trusting in the One who refreshed me with water from the spring of everlasting Life in Him.
So even when I look a bit slanted, or a bit like a crazy bendy-straw, just know that I’m in the process of reaching out to be as close to the Son as I possibly can! Come join me!