Recently, I broke off two stems from a shrub I enjoy propagating and stuck them in water. A week later, one was wilting, and the other full and green. Looking at the roots, it was clear why one failed to thrive.
After a couple more days, the difference was even more dramatic.
The weak plant finally made a tiny effort to spurt a few roots, but not enough to get the job done. I tossed it in the compost pile.
The one that put out roots right away is now even stronger. With a growing root system, even in water, it is ready to go into the soil.
With the suddenness of the COVID-19 sequestration back in March, for many of us, our lives felt chopped off like that plant, broken or severely altered in countless ways: connection with others (too little or too much), job/income or business losses, schools, worship gatherings, athletic events worked so hard for, birthdays, anticipated holidays and trips, long prepared-for confirmations, baptisms, weddings and graduations postponed or drive by only.
Even being able to go to the store and choose our veggies became a no-go for many of us. (I won’t go into the time and energy to decontaminate groceries once they arrive at our house.)
After months of this, I’m wondering how many are floundering without their on-the-go busy life, no concerts or meet-ups, dining out, parties, or gym workouts, or church services to attend.
The diversions that used to keep introspection at bay have been sliced out from under us.
How have you handled the severance of everything we call normal?
Was it okay for a while, but now you are beginning to fray around the edges? Wilting, asking, “How much longer?”
Like the two stems, broken from their normal source of nourishment, when life cuts us off at the knees, we decide how we are going to respond. If we want to flourish, then our first priority has to be developing a new root system.
Life, as it used to be, won’t support us anymore.
I love Psalm 1. The ones who delight in God’s law, who seek his wisdom, are like trees planted by the riverbank.
If we want to thrive, we have to go deeper for our life source.
Not find a different diversion or distraction.
Or comfort food.
And certainly not yielding to old habits, patterns, or addictions that used to enslave us.
At some point for all of us, life will offer challenges. Even if we’d rather not face them, in reality, it’s when it gets hard that real living begins. For a plant to thrive it needs a good, strong root system and a consistent source of water.
And so do we.
But I’m not going to give you advice on how to improve yourself, or Bible verses to memorize, even though that might be helpful.
Sometimes it’s in doing less that our roots go deeper. As I’m learning in lessons sprinkled throughout my adult life, I can’t do anything to actually make good roots grow.
Ps 37: 7 says: “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” NLT
The same loving hands that knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and prepared me to live (Eph 1:4), has guided and protected me through the years, and is here, now, to take me deeper. He will develop in me whatever I need to reach His nourishing love. (2 Peter 1:3)
I’m learning to stop trying so hard to get it right.
It’s in resting I find my peace. Then I will bloom and grow.
God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace. Ps 29: 11 MSG
Today, I invite you to join me in this prayer from The Swindoll Study Bible, p 675