Deeply Rooted

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

– Ephesians 3:17-18

On a recent camping trip to Mammoth, California, our family took a long hike into the mountains. Along the path we encounter monuments of the creation that sometimes leave one breathless and full of wonder. One such artifact was the huge remains of a tangled system of roots that had once been the foundation of a very large tree. As I observed the enormity of this root structure, I pondered the meaning as it relates to our spiritual foundation. I thought a lot about the importance of roots as the foundation of a tree as it equates to faith in Christ.

One of my favorite things about Summer is the lingering warm evenings and late sunsets. My family enjoys taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood just before dusk. We have come to cherish our nature walks when we can marvel at the grace of God’s creation through the eyes of our child. Our daughter skips merrily along the path, stopping every once in a while to stoop low and observe the movement of a bug on the ground.

Then leaping down along the path, she delightfully lifts her hands in praise and sings, “Thank you Jesus for the sun, and the trees, and the shade!”

On our tree lined street, many of the sycamore and magnolia trees hang low enough along the walk that our girl, a mere 40” tall, has to stand on tip-toe, reaching her hands high overhead to touch the leaves with her fingertips. Occasionally Daddy will lift her onto his shoulders to grab hold of a leaf as she gazes in amazement at the fine detail of every vein and stroke its velvety skin.

Then leaping down along the path, she delightfully lifts her hands in praise and sings, “Thank you Jesus for the sun, and the trees, and the shade!”

My favorite place in our house is seated right under the double windows in the front during the light of dawn. Where we live in the suburbs, tall sycamore trees line the streets, the fullness of their branches extending out and providing shade across the neighborhood. Last year city ordinance forced us to remove the tree out in front of our house, which had really become a beloved feature of our home. I had loved to sit in our large front windows on a breezy day and listen to leaves rustle and clap as if offering their adoration to God.

You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! (Isaiah 55:11-12)

One of the joys of being a parent is viewing the world through a child’s eyes of wonder. It is even more remarkable to witness the faith of a child. Jesus said that unless a person can become like a little child one could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3). I learn more from my little girl about the love of the Father than I do from any book.

We make cherished memories on Saturday mornings, raking the large leaves in a pile and our girl jumping into it with childish abandonment. How I marvel at her free spirit and long for such freedom in my heart. How easily the cares of this life consume our affections and burden our hands from lifting in praise!

“Trees” by Lily

One of the best gifts my mother ever gave me was the gift of prayer, as we drove in the car on the way to school, while we sat on the couch at the end of the day, as she knelt over my bedside. Her example formed a foundation for me that has developed into a life of faith. I want to give my daughter the gift of God’s love everyday.

My greatest desire in this life is to know God more and to impart the fullness of his love to my child. Yet as I watch her explore her world in wonder, I realize that the best way I can teach her the love of God is to live it. That I would plant my roots deeply in Christ, living love by example, through reading his word, taking time to pray, and serving others. The fruit of that will be a legacy of faith for my child. 

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. 

– Jeremiah 17:7

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