Shaded by tall trees on both banks, it was never warm. Even in the stickiness of a hot and humid southern Indiana summer day, the initial chill of the water always seemed to take me by surprise. The creek. Good for skipping rocks, finding minnows, and cooling off. Good for lessons in digging deep.
Welcome back to my grandparents’ farm. If you missed the first post, be sure to check it out.
As I got older, Mamaw and Papaw moved from their house on the highway with the apple tree to the old homestead where Papaw grew up. There was no apple tree but there were creeks, on the other side of the road in front of the house and beyond the field behind the house. Summers in the Midwest are notorious for being super sticky. The creeks provided respite from the sun and heat, the water cool and the shade plenty.
The shade provided by the trees didn’t happen by chance. Because of their strategic location the trees served their purpose well. Everything about a tree’s livelihood is determined by the health of its roots. The health of its roots is determined by its source of nutrients and water. If the tree is not strategically placed where it can properly glean from its source or if the source is not substantial, the tree suffers. It’s purpose inadequately served. The same is true for our lives. When digging deep, where you dig matters.
“7 But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
This passage begs the question, where are your roots growing? In the previous post we looked at the parable of the sower. There are types of soil where roots simply will not thrive. But, when you dig in the right place your roots become an anchor. They provide stability. They don’t prevent the storms from happening above ground, but they make it possible to withstand them.
“Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.” In the NIV it says, “it does not fear when heat comes…it has no worries in a year of drought.” When your hope and confidence is in the Lord, when the soil of your heart is saturated with God’s Word (Luke 8:11-15), and when your roots reach deep into Jesus (Colossians 2:6-7) and the living water he provides (John 7:37-38), then you will find yourself capable of an attitude of thanksgiving and able to live out the exhortation in Philippians 4:4-9 to not be anxious about anything. You will find the stability to not fear when the heat comes, to not worry in a season of drought or struggle. And that stability? It will be wrapped in a peace that simply cannot be fully grasped or understood, a peace that will guard your heart and mind.
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9, NIV)
As I let my mind go back to the creek, the one beyond the field behind the house, I am thankful. As my family approaches the one-year anniversary of my grandfather’s home-going, I am grateful for the roots that began to take hold in that creek many, many years ago. Not tree roots, but his roots. The roots that began to take hold when he surrendered his life to Christ and was baptized. The roots that my Papaw began to dig deep that day withstood many seasons, seasons of plenty and seasons of drought. But, no matter the season, because his roots were deep and strategically placed, his leaves stayed green and fruit continued to produce. Because of his influence that fruit continues to produce and thrive in the lives of his family.
Everything about a tree’s livelihood is determined by the health of its roots. Everything about your livelihood is determined by the health of your roots. So, where are your roots growing?
In this season of questions and struggles that I’m personally working through, I am asking myself this very same question. Friend, it is my prayer that you and I both immerse ourselves and our roots deep into the living water of God’s Word, because where you dig matters.
Join me next time as we look at what God can do when we dig deep and become rooted where we should.