Do you know the deeper a tree root system is in the ground, the bigger the storm it can withstand? Interestingly, the largest root of a tree is called a tap root. This root is central and most dominant root growing downward while the other roots grow laterally. The tap root penetrates the soil deeply which gives strength to the tree that is necessary when powerful storms winds swirl around the branches, swaying the tree back and forth, the tree remains steadfast because it is tapped into years of growth and endurance having withstood these storms before. This tree knows it first must grow deep so that it can stand tall.
Year after year, the tree takes a whole season and places its energy into its root system so they can grow deeper into the soil. Persistence of pressure pays off and the roots push through compact ground further strengthen the height of the tree. All this work prepares for the next season when storms will blow against its boughs again. To go against this order of growth, the tree is doomed to being blown over. Without this root system the tree will be unable to withstand directional winds that are sure to blow against it. The tree will be blown over, tossed about in a storm.
The tree does not place its trust in its circumstance for substance. It may lose a limb, yet still it will grow towards its source of strength so it can not only survive, but grow mighty despite the storms damage.
Year after year.
Season upon season.
Grow deep, trust the source, soar tall.
I know you wanted to learn about a tree’s root system, so you are welcome. J But something struck me differently this winter as I have been among the trees pruning and preparing them for next season I kept thinking about what the tree can withstand with all their energy focused in the ground. Because they are root focused, I can prune branches without injuring them. When the blizzard winds blow, they remain upright with in all their bareness. Lightened from the burdened of their leaves, they can hold the weight of freezing rain and snow with minimal stress to their branches.
A song from long ago keeps coming playing in my mind as I work in the trees this winter. A hymn my soul gravitated to as I was a child; Trust and Obey. Odd I know, since what little child likes to obey and what first born child trust anything before trying it themselves? But the words in this hymn captured my heart for reasons unknown and peace washes over me whenever I hear the familiar tune. Though in some ways I am still that short little girl who likes to take charge and try things her way, little by little God has wooed to reveal the stanza’s deeper meaning yet throughout my life.
It is a simple display of trust provoking one to obey not because its commanded, but because it brings us to a fuller appreciation of what is at the center of it all. In the enormity of this universe there is a profound love for us. One that has the power to move mountains and dry up an ocean. We are not one in a million. We are the one in hundreds of million who has captured His heart and gives us His ear. Our vulnerability gets His attention. Our trust is not taken for granted and when we put our trust into action through obedience, there is great power. It is radical in fact and He can show us life is bigger than the plans we make for our life.
In theory, trust is simple but in reality it can be quite complex. You trust- then life happens. Unexpected twists transpire; choices are made, words are said, hearts are hurt and trust is broken. In the aftermath of the affliction, doubt seeps in and vows are made to not place your trust in anyone or any place again. It is justified by a society that serves only one. The whispers from the liar angling to destroy us tells us it is not worth it. Standing in all the brokenness, it is easy to agree.
However, in the hymn’s second verse the lyrics tell “not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, can abide while we trust and obey.” Although this hymn was wrote by a witness of someone giving his testimony, I believe it was not mere coincidence these words were penned by inspiration. An awaken is stirred in my heart by these words and I consider why trust and obey when paired together are so formidable?
As a little girl climbing the highest limbs I could get to, the marvel of the tree was not lost. How I loved the summer days when I would perch myself in those strong boughs and imagine myself being that tall one day. Seeds were planted then, but one thing stood in my way in trusting my source to soar to those heights.
Ugh, how this word is like a snippy dog at my ankle. My first born instincts deceive me that I know it all and what I do not know, I can forge ahead and make the best choice for myself. The little girl in me looks through the branches of a tree to climb to the next height. I need not pause to grow toward my source. I wanted go higher, conquer the sky not burrow below. I needed no season where energy is spent in heart reflection and error correction.
That is all a lie, in fact quite the opposite of my trailblazing ways. Pride betrays truth and is an awful humbling experience when exposed.
Heart affliction can cause doubt, which in some ways is wise when you use the discernment correctly. However, removing trust removes obedience and that provides no environment for growth.
You become stunted.
This is where trust becomes complex because what we want intersects with what we need. All the hurt, all those fears and all our heart’s desire collide to a place where a choice has to be made. Where thoughts merge and process to an honest evaluation of where our heart is at. What are we trusting or rather, what are we not trusting?
Are we tapping into a source of strength of our own accord or tapped to a source that can break through the compressed soil transcending our heights higher than before? Are we passionately pursuing the right course for ourselves, spending our energy where it grows us or are we caught in a web of lies hindering our hopes and dreams?
The author of our heart knows our insecurities, but He also knows for us to conquer those fears we have to dig deep and grow toward Him. There we can tap into His strength which sustains us in those storms. His power paves way for us to soar. His faithfulness to us allows trust to grow. Trust in Him, not the situation, will be the nutrition needed for the choice to obey what is next.
From runt stunt, you enter a new season. Impossible does not apply to your tree. The wind blows, but you dance in the rain. Lightening lights the night sky yet you laugh in your new boldness in Him. Your tap root is firmly deep; if He is for you, what can stand in your way?
You dig deeper, He grows you higher.
Season upon season upon season in this journey of life.
To trust God above all will lead you to the choice to obey.
In that moment when your deepest fears paralyze you in stepping into a design for your life, will you obey His voice to forgive, try again, love the unlovable, and believe His promises over your life? Because after the season where your roots are dug deeper, you experience a spring rebirth and new life. New branches emerge and leaves absorb sunlight like never before. It will be unexplainable to tell, for each tree has a story all its own.
Our lives tell a story, like that of a tree life rings. Amazing is the view when we soar through trust and obey.