Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rooted in Him

I took this July 2011 at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Imagine that you are a happy young sapling, atop a nice little promontory overlooking the sea. You are situated on a perfect grassy spot and you begin to spread your roots. It is a prime spot really, you can see for miles and as luck would have it, you are high above the sea and you will not have to worry about those nasty winter storms and their mighty crashing force.

You start to notice one day, after a few years, that you are listing slightly, instead of pointing directly upward you are now pointing a bit to the horizon. No worries, you just dig your roots down a little deeper and continue to enjoy your view.

Well, then, winter comes along and some of those nasty storms begin to concentrate on your prime little spot. You still feel secure atop your little hill and confident that everything will be swell. That is until the nice solid promontory you live upon starts to crumble beneath your roots. You see, the years of storms, of constant crashing waves, have weakened the structure on which you dwell. Now, all it took was a few nasty storms all in one season to bring you careening wildly downward, leaving you pointing directly into the sea. You are now hanging onto your hillside by only a few griping roots. You fear the worst. You are certain that your little roots will give way at any moment and send you crashing into the rocks below and swept out to sea.

However, those wonderful years you spent atop that promontory as a sapling turn out to be your saving grace. You dug your roots down deep into the crevices of the rock, past the sandy soil covering the grass which you enjoyed. Now those roots, being so deeply rooted are keeping you from your certain destruction. With your lifeline still clinging, your course abruptly changes, you start to grow directly upward again toward the life giving sun above you.  No more staring death in the face. No more listing toward the horizon. Your roots go deep and they have proven to withstand all the forces.

You grow up to be a beauty. Your roots are strong and holding. Your trunk, twisted and unsure at first, but then true and straight. Your branches are many, spread and covering. All of you is lifted and pointing above you. No longer do you look to the horizon or what is in front of you. No longer do you gaze down toward destruction. You have eyes only for the sun.

When I saw this tree while on vacation to Newport, Oregon, I knew there was something wonderful going on with this tree. It was more than just the awesomeness of nature at work. I saw in it a parallel example of our human lives and God. We ARE the tree.

As a Christian, I am rooted into my faith in God, my belief in Jesus Christ and my trust of the Spirit. It is for me as it was for this tree, I've been rooted in God since I was a child. I've been a Christian since as long as I can even remember. However, there have been years of my life when instead of looking upward, I've "listed" and looked around me and toward my horizon. I was more concerned with what I was doing within my little world. My roots were still there, but at times I was blind to them. Storms, trials and hardships came as they inevitably do and it sure seemed at times that I was looking destruction right in the face.

I remember one time in particular that it was just a thread of a root holding me back from the precipice I was dangling over. Life for myself and those I loved around me could have turned out so very different, so much more sad and awful, had I not been rooted the way I was in my faith and belief. Since that defining time I have grown only straighter, with my eyes firmly heavenward, toward the Son that bought me for my Father.  So very like this amazing tree, which is still holding on.

I reflect sometimes how wonderful it is to be the child of the One who created all things. There's such reassurance in that knowledge, to know that the God of all things loves me and cares for me and wants me to KNOW Him. It is so very reassuring to know that He will pick me up when I am falling and set me to growing straight again.

And this is not all to say that life rooted in my faith and belief in God is going to be easy. No, indeed, as Christians we are not guarantied an easy life free of strife, storms, sadness or pain. There are numerous instances of personal pain and suffering in my own short lifetime already that I know this to be true. It is part of the world in which we live in, far from perfect.

We are only guarantied that God will be with us and that we will someday be with Him if we willfully choose to walk with Him and to be rooted into Him and His Word, if we choose to believe and accept His Son.

I, for one, am very thankful to be so firmly rooted in Him.