Trees and Roots

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in Inspirational/Devotional, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Trees and Roots

One of the fabulous things about being THE English teacher at a private high school is the opportunity I have to form long-term relationships with my students and watch them grow.  I pray for them often and, as I was praying for one in particular this morning, I began to form a metaphor in my thoughts and prayers.

I was praying that the Holy Spirit would work in the heart of this particular student, that God would plant a seed that would take root.  Now, this student is one that may or may not be a Christian.  It is hard to tell.  So as I was praying for this student, my prayer began following this route:

Sometimes, the ground where a seed falls is hard, like concrete.  Yet the persistent, hearty seed can find just enough dirt and moisture to take root, like grass in the cracks of a sidewalk.  All that seed needs is just enough.  Once it begins to sprout, it sends out roots into the hard dirt, breaking that dirt up.  As the dirt begins to break up, it allows more moisture in and begins to soften.  Pretty soon you have an environment that’s friendly enough to send up a plant.  In the case of grass, it begins to thicken and spread.  In the case of a tree, it begins to sprout.  Since the Bible talks about our lives bearing fruit, I abandoned the grass metaphor at this point and began following the tree.

So the tree begins to sprout.  As it grows, the roots around it begin to soften the dirt.  How, then, does the tree not fall?  The root system continues to grow, expanding in size and complexity, anchoring the tree.  The more nutrients the tree receives, the better the fruit it bears.  The better our souls are anchored in the Holy Spirit, the greater our root system, and the more fruit we bear.  Now the image in my prayer looks like one of those cut-away views where you see the entire tree from top leaf in the air to bottom-most root in the ground.  A pretty healthy tree.

Have you ever noticed that the root system of a potted plant will take on the shape of it’s container?  This thought spurred another image in my mind, a network of roots in the shape of a heart.  Now the image that I’m following in my prayer is one of a tree on top with a heart-shaped root system.  In my mind, this has become the perfect symbol of a life well rooted in the Holy Spirit, blossoming and producing fruit.

Around here, we have a lot of live oaks.  Funny thing is, when it rains too much, they can fall over.  It’s one of the more inexplicable sites of nature to see a sprawling, healthy oak tree topple in the course of a long, heavy rain.  The most interesting part of it is, those trees never have roots.  When they fall over, their bottoms are exposed, and there is nothing below what was ground level for that particular tree.

I can’t help but wonder what causes a healthy-looking tree to lose it’s root system.  I am not wise in the way of live oaks, and since this metaphor occurred to me this morning, I have not had the time to research the answer, but I find it interesting that this can happen spiritually, too.  Every once in a while we see people who appear to be spiritually healthy just topple over in a storm.  I wonder what happened to their root system?

All of this poured into my prayer for my student: that the Holy Spirit would take root in his/her life, soften the ground of his/her heart, sprout into a strong and sturdy tree that bears much fruit, and withstand whatever force it is that compromises a strong and healthy root system. I can’t wait to tell you how this prayer gets answered.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3074785871/”>h.koppdelaney</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

One Comment

  1. You actually make it seem so easy along with your
    presentation nevertheless i find this topic to be really something that I think I would never
    understand. It appears to be too complex and very broad in my opinion. I’m anticipating for your forthcoming post, I am going
    to try to have the hang of it!

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