This time of year the form and structure of the trees visible in my backyard is apparent, newly revealed by leaves who’ve turned color and fled their post, fallen away, leaving a pecan, an oak and a ginkgo quite naked. Along the street the crepe myrtle trees display thin tendrils that curl and stretch out at the tips of big bone branches which also reach, and stretch and strive to touch the sky, and maybe… each other.
I love to sit on my back patio in the evening, wrapped in a blanket, with a cup of steaming hot tea, and gaze up at the shadowy fingers, black against the night sky, the pecan stretching toward the oak, so close, almost forming a canopy over me. My contemplation eventually shifts to the ground, pondering the deep and outstretched tangle of roots, the underground structure and source of strength that lies cloaked, hidden under grass, garden, patio and feet.
Isn’t it interesting to consider that the roots stretch out in a mirror image of the branches above?
Is our faith like that? Do our naked branches reflect our hidden roots?
If our soul roots are quietly, privately, burrowing deep into the Word, pushing hungrily down, needy for nutrients from the fertile loam of law, prophet, psalm, gospel and epistle…will not our stripped and exposed branches be revealed as stretching high and spreading out wide?
If our soul roots are stretching thirstily for the Living Water will not our strong, sturdy branches be leafy and fruitful in season,
and in winter display a lovely framework of reaching limbs and sheltering boughs?
According to Wikipedia:
Roots will generally grow in any direction where the correct environment of air, mineral nutrients and water exists to meet the plant’s needs. Roots will not grow in dry soil.
Over time, given the right conditions, roots can crack foundations, snap water lines, and lift sidewalks.
Ah, Father, We praise You for the beauty of your creation, and thank you for the lessons found within it. Forgive us for our short stubby branches, and weak roots. Give us thirsty roots that we would tap into Your Living Water, dig into Your Word, and be nourished by Your Spirit. That You, might be glorified, by thick lofty limbs, yielding branch upon branch, a bounty of green leaves, bearing fruit, sheltering birds, offering shade.
Give us strong roots that they might crack the foundations of evil, snap the doubts of those who would seek you, and lift up the smothering cement where the world would tread upon us and suppress our growth. Give us firm roots, that we might stand tall, in all weather, and reach out, in all seasons. In the Name Above All Names, we pray, Amen.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed Luke 13:18-19
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
“‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’”
This is what the LORD says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
I’ve submitted this post to Word Filled Wednesday, over at Internet Cafe Devotions. Please click over and take a moment to share coffee and the Word with other women who love God! Reaching Limbs and Sheltering Boughs was originally posted on my devotional blog, Riverside Reflections, on Saturday, December 17th. I needed this reminder now, in November this year, despite the leaves that still dance on the trees!