Are you a tree that will topple in the storm?

There is a major hurricane approaching the coast of North Carolina.  The latest models for Hurricane Matthew have it coming dangerously close to where I live in Wilmington, NC.  We’ve pulled out our hurricane preparedness lists and started to prepare.  My husband has gassed up the cars, filled some containers with water, and I, along with everyone else, have been to the grocery store.  We prepare while hoping and praying that it will not make landfall but instead will turn and go out to sea.

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As I sit and look out the window, I think of the trees in my neighborhood.  When the winds blow hard and the trees start to sway, they are in danger.  They don’t know it, but the force of the winds can cause the trees to topple.  After the storm is past and we start to clean up, some of our trees will have fallen over.  Some of them will hold fast.  One of the deciding factors in whether or not a tree will fall during a storm is its roots.

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We all have storms that threaten our lives, and some even make landfall.  These storms have dangerous winds that transform our lives into something that we never expected.  We never expected our sons to die prematurely.  We never expected our husbands to cheat on us.  We didn’t expect church politics to ruin friendships.  We didn’t expect our husband to lose his job.  We didn’t expect our daughter to get pregnant.  We didn’t expect to get sick.  We didn’t expect life to be so hard and painful.

I’ve had some storms in my life this year.  I’ve weathered the betrayal of friends.  I’ve had to work through some mind-blowing conflict.  I’ve dealt with chronic illness.  Right now I am working through a strained relationship with God.  And my one of my children is sick, which brings up unbidden sobs at the most unlikely places.

Recently I was walking with God and taking a hard look at my disheveled emotional and spiritual condition.  I’ve been a wreck, ya’ll.  But I’ve not given in or given up.  So I asked God, “How it is that I can still stand in the midst of so much pain and fear and confusion?”  He replied with a simple, one word answer:  “ROOTS.”

I have deep roots.  Though my leaves have fallen off and my limbs are barren, my roots run deep.  Though circumstances try to shake me, my roots run deep.  Though the season is hard and the winds blow ferociously, I will not fall, because I am grounded.  I can stand tall and face the storm because my roots run deep.

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How did I get these roots that enable me to stand while the storm rages around me?

It’s a simple answer, really.  Bible study.  For 25 years I have endeavored to spend time with God on a daily basis. Some call it a quiet time, others call it devotional time, it really doesn’t matter what you call it.  Sometimes it’s five minutes of study and sometimes it is fifty.

Spending time reading the Bible is how we learn the truth about God.  This holy book is a biography of God and we can’t come to know Him without reading it.  We learn that God is good.  We learn that God is loving. We learn that God is compassionate.  And we learn that suffering is part of the Christian walk, and it is how we come to know Jesus.  We learn that there is purpose in trials and suffering.  We latch onto the hope of eternity in heaven.

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When you have deep roots in the truth of God’s word, you have hope and peace and understanding.  When you have deep roots, you can weather the devastating cancer diagnosis.  With deep roots, you can walk through your husband’s infidelity. With deep roots, you can take your toddler back and forth to the children’s hospital. With deep roots, you can survive bankruptcy.  With deep roots, you can withstand infertility and loneliness and depression.  With deep roots, you can forgive those who hurt you.  Deep roots keep you upright in a storm that should topple you.

Girls, we need to work on growing our roots.  I know that we are all busy and overwhelmed and don’t have the time, but we need to make it a priority to spend time with God daily in Bible study.  Five minutes is a great place to start.  If we don’t work on growing some roots, when the storm comes, we are going down.  We will not have the truth of God’s word to give us hope and peace and understanding.  We will not have roots to anchor us and keep us standing in the storm.

When we grow deep roots, we don’t have to fear an approaching storm.  It will be hard, but we have a confident hope that we won’t be destroyed.  Our deep roots will give us peace while the storm rages around us.  We will stand because of our deep roots.

Grow some roots, girls.

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 2:7

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