In the depth of the winter, when there's a bleak dead landscape of trees and hard, brown grass, life still goes on below the surface, resting and preparing for the coming season. In the spring, even more growth goes on as the roots of the plant are taking in all the nutrients they can as the ground warms up. In the summer, the roots grow strong and deep, stretching to get as much water as they can as the plant thrives, soaking in intense summer sunlight. And in the fall, the roots transition into a period of rest as the earth begins to get chilly and the leaves begin to fall.
My question to you is, what season are your roots in?
In my last blog post, I talked about seeds and how important it is that we realize our uniqueness and how God plants us exactly where he wants us so that we will thrive. Once planted, a lot has to happen below the surface before others even see a plant rising above the surface. If a plant doesn't have strong and deep roots, then when the storm or intense sun comes, it's going to shrivel up or blow away and die.
Just look at Matthew 13:3b-8 (emphasis mine):
"A farmer went out to sow his seed.4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
Although this is talking about us planting seeds in other people's lives, the gardening concept holds true. When a seed doesn't go deep in the soil, it doesn't survive.
Because we are not plants, we must intentionally grow our roots deep if we want to weather the storm to come. And we must understand that the storms will indeed come. As a follower of Christ, we are promised earthly persecution in 1 Peter 4:12-13:
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed."
It's rather hard to rejoice in the storm when we feel as if we are being demolished by the wind and waves. However, if we have our hope firmly planted in God and in his word, we can withstand any storm that comes our way. How do we do that? By spending time in the Bible and in prayer.
Pastor Levi Lusko said something that I will never forget. "You need to train for the trial you are not yet in." He followed it saying, "You don't train when trial comes, you prepare yourself ahead of it...Storms reveal the foundation; they are not the best times to begin working on it." That preparation is just like growing roots. They give us a firm foundation when the trials of life come our way. Roots also prepare us for stronger ministry. The farther we stretch our roots under the surface, the larger our branches can reach above the surface into the lives of others. The stronger we are spiritually, the greater the impact we can have in the world around us.
I want you to consider whether you are intentionally growing your roots deeper and stronger in the Lord or whether you're just trying to fix the plant above the ground by doing more and trying to make your Christian life look better? Before we can bloom and have a lasting impact, we must grow our roots deep and strong, continuing to strengthen them by spending time with God through reading our Bibles and praying every day.
"Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don't see what goes on underground - as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don't see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree." - Joyce Meyer