I was born and raised in a small community on the coast of the northernmost part of California. It was known for its huge redwood trees that grew to be hundreds of feet tall, dwarfing the cars of tourists who pulled off the road to stare at these magnificent giants. (On a side note, the forest scene in Return of the Jedi was filmed not far from my home outside of Crescent City.)
Recently, the Board of Apple of His Eye Charity met at the beach for its annual Prayer & Planning Retreat. As one of the board members led us in a devotion, she shared that the most valuable (and often most taken for granted) part of a tree is that which is hidden from sight, the roots. Without them, the tree would be unable to soak up water from the soil and lift it to every part of the trunk and out to the leaves. The roots speak of the hidden life of a believer, the one that other people don’t see. Just as a master pianist spends unseen hours alone, practicing his or her profession, it is the time we spend alone with the Lord that enables Him to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
The Apostle Paul urges us to sink our roots deep into Christ. “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your ROOTS grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6–7)
Sinking our roots deep into Christ requires that we draw our nourishment from the Bible. The secret of a blessed man is that “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a TREE planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:2–3)
Without this active root system in the Word of God, we will wither when faced with hard times. In Jesus’ parable of the Sower, “the one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has NO ROOT, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matthew 13:20–21)
In addition to the essential nature of roots to the life of all trees, the roots of giant Redwoods teach us an additional important lesson. The reason that groves of Redwoods stand for years against all the storms that confront them is that, though their root systems are fairly shallow, they intertwine with the roots of trees around them. Thus, they basically hold one another up. If we are going to grow strong and straight for years to come, we need to intertwine our lives with other believers. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
You are such an important part of AHEC. You encourage us in the battles we face because you have intertwined your roots around ours. As you grow stronger and taller in God’s Kingdom, those we minister to in India and Rwanda also grow stronger in the Lord.
Remember, a tree without roots is called a tumbleweed. Let’s sink our roots deep into Christ to stay planted whatever storms may come.
By: Marlon Furtado