Not much to grow on

God’s Message: “Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight. He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows. But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” –Jeremiah 17:5-10 (MSG)

Yesterday as I was driving back to the office after my lunch break, I passed a really big tree strapped-down on a really long flat-bed truck. In the past I’ve often marveled that they can transplant half-grown trees. But this is the first time I had seen one so large in-transit. What shocked me was how tiny the root ball on the tree was. Despite the tree being about 20 feet long/tall, the root ball could probably have fit in a large storage tub. It definitely would have been dwarfed by a bathtub. After seeing the carnage this past winter’s ice storm made out of deep-rooted, never-transplanted trees here in the Ozarks, I had to wonder: “How is it possible that such a tree could ever grow again after transplanting and be strong or stable?”

Last night, after reading Brian Fidler’s blog posts Jehovah Rafa – God the Healer and Fathered, I went and sat down to read another chapter in Wild At Heart. Chapter 4 was entitled “The Wound” and resonated deeply with me, especially after having pondered the previously mentioned blog posts. Brian had said “We are a fractured people, all of us. We are all of us the broken-hearted, in need of healing.”, and John Eldredge had said something like “Every man I’ve ever met has been wounded in his heart…usually by his father.” So if all of us are in such a pathetic state, do we have even as much of a chance as that transplanted tree of putting down deep roots into God’s life-giving waters and growing into stable, fruit-bearing men of God?

A lot of the Christians I know seem to currently be of a mindset that says “I’m lame and pathetic but I am hungry to be so much more”, but there are many others that seem to be happy right where they are. It is confusing to me to figure out if the “happy right where they are” Christians are just secure in their faith and their identity in Christ or if they are just afraid to dig deeper and reveal their wounded heart. I tend to go back and forth. For a while I’m hungry, yearning for more of Him. Then I stop pushing down roots for a while and just enjoy the sunshine and rain. At the moment, though, I’m hungry again and a bit worried about some of my friends who aren’t. I don’t want them to be like the tumbleweeds mentioned in Jeremiah 17. I want them (and myself) to be the strong, transplanted trees of Eden.

Lord, give us the desire – and the means – to put down roots.