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He is like a tree planted along a river bank,

with its roots reaching deep into the water’

a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried

by long months of drought.

It’s leaves stay green and it goes

right on producing all its luscious fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (TLB)

“Honey, have you looked at our Redbud tree lately? It’s sick!”

We planted our Redbud tree about the same time that Wayne did (our neighbor across the street). His young tree was fuller than ours, but the potential of a beautiful, blossoming tree was in both of them.

Then something went wrong, Wayne’s tree kept getting fuller and prettier; ours didn’t show much sign of growth. Then the webworms attacked and nearly stripped the poor little thing, but he made it and put on new leaves in the spring. Still, Wayne’s was picture perfect, our little one looked dwarfed and sick.

I tried prolonged watering and daily conversing with the tree’I really wanted it to grow and become the beautiful thing it was created to be. I finally called Chuck, (our landscape artist) and asked him to see what he thought.He went over to examine the tree closely and leaned against it. It bent with his weight and he was just leaning on it! (It was about 8′ tall.) He said, “Let me try something.” And he pulled, gently at first then a little harder and pulled that little tree up, single handed with minimum effort – roots and all. The shocking thing was, there were very few roots! Small wonder that it had no stability. Something had hindered it from seeking the nutrients and water deep down in the soil. It was living on shallow ground with very little nourishment.

I could sign off here and most of you would see the application before I write it down. Remember the seed that fell on shallow ground?

And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

Mark 4:6 NAS

It is essential that we have a root system in our lives, roots give us stability, sustain us, bring growth, and ultimately beauty and fruit. I want this. I want to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I don’t want to be knocked around by the undulating circumstances that blow on me. I don’t want to be “pulled up” with minimum effort because my root system is faulty. I don’t want people to look at me and evaluate my walk with the Lord and say, “Have you looked at Anabel lately? She looks sick!” How to accomplish those very sincere “wants”? As always, He gives us our answer:

Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him.

Colossians 2:7 TLB

So, as is always the case, the choice is mine. If I will spend time with Him, growth will come. How badly do I want this? Tozer makes this statement: Spiritual gifts and graces come only to those who want them badly enough. It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy ad as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is certainly as full as he wants to be. In other words, the ball is in my court. I will be the Believer I make up my mind to be.

God knew, as He always knows, our dilemma, and He gives us the answer for that problem, too.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love;

and may you be able to feel and understand,

as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep,

and how high His love really is;

and to experience this love for yourselves,

though it is so great that you will never see the end of it

or fully know or understand it.”

Ephesians 3:17b-19 TLB

Hummm. Maybe I need some “prolonged watering” and “daily conversing” with Someone who loves me and wants me to be the beautiful thing I was created to be?

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.