But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
There was quite a storm not so long ago. I had a five-year old tree in the front yard that just fell over. There was not much of a hole. It seemed that all those limbs and all those leaves had grown, but the adobe-soil below hindered the proper root development. A fifteen-foot tree had roots that were less than three-feet around and less than two feet deep. The tree looked beautiful until there was a big storm, and then it just toppled over and died.
From time to time in my Christian life, I find that the flesh, the world, and the devil manage to test me sorely. It is part of the ritual of life. Some days are great victories; some days can be serious setbacks. Age doesn’t lighten the onslaught, perhaps it gets worse. I have found, as Solomon of old had discovered, that there is a season for all emotions and events (Ecclesiastes 3). I have also found, as David his father did, that a tree planted by the waters, deeply rooted, will stand all the tests of time. My roots are the foundational truths and habits that I formed as a young person so long ago. They are faith, and family, and friends. They are a source of strength and an anchor for my soul.
The other day, I faced such a temptation and had to reach down deep to my roots to rebuke my challenge.
I reached for an old Bible and found some promises that I had marked in that Bible so long ago.
- I read the Gospels and the love and words of Jesus; they lifted my soul.
- I read Proverbs to review warnings for the wise.
- I read Hebrews to remember what a wonderful Savior I have.
I reviewed in the back flyleaves some of the quotes that had influenced my life. Here are just a few:
No Bible, No Breakfast; Let go and let God – Pastor Melvin Swanson
Don’t look for satisfaction from the sheep, but from the Shepherd – Pastor Jack Trieber
Is there enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian? – Dr. David Gibbs.
God is more interested in who I am, than what I do – unknown
That old Bible also has a list of songs that have helped me make the right decisions.
“After All He’s Done for Me”
I’ll Be True, Lord Jesus, I’ll Be True
“For Those Tears I Died”
I found a quiet place and listened to some of the good old gospel music that has blessed and moved my soul over the years.
I read a few notes from loved ones that I had tucked away for such a time as this.
I went to church and listened to some good preaching.
Thank the Lord, the storm soon passed. I found peace and contentment again. My roots held me steady while my limbs seemed to rock. I have had other tests as well. Some tested my mind and experience, others my emotions. I thank the Lord that He has allowed me to develop strong roots in many different aspects of my life. When I was younger, I had no idea how valuable they would be, nor the personal growth those roots would allow me to achieve. I have lived long enough now to appreciate how important it is to be “planted by the rivers of water.” I have watched the destruction of some Christians who did not take the time to develop the habits that promote good root growth.
If you find that you don’t have many roots, grow some! There is no substitute for simple diligence. There is no preventing the disaster if you don’t. Some might marvel at our leaves and stature, but it is only a matter of time and the right storm to reveal our shallow roots and bring about disaster. I know there will be another trial. I know there will be another test. May God help us to have the roots to weather the storm.
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Jim Carey was the first staff member hired by Pastor Trieber in 1976. For over 40 years, he has served in many capacities. He has taught in the Christian school since its inception and has taught junior church every Sunday for that entire time as well.