I love trees. Big trees, small tress, fruit trees and even thorn trees – dead or alive, I bear no discrimination against trees. (Although I will own that I have thought a bad thought or two towards a thorn tree on occasion!). In light of this, you would not be surprised to see how many photos I have of trees! In this season of severe drought, there has been much lively discussion about boreholes and whether or not they have a negative impact on the environment. I don’t know enough about it to offer an opinion, but I have an enormous appreciation for the natural bore hole systems of trees.
In the corner of the world I live in, massive skeletons of once mighty trees, decorate the landscape. Massive arms that once cradled wild cats, and sparkled with green bling, lie still in the red African soil. Their upended roots lie exposed for all to see, and their enormous size and complex networks, bear witness to their success in sustaining the tree until its unfortunate demise. The most common causes of death among trees here, is lightning, elephants and floods, with the latter being the most infrequent, but by no means the least dramatic. I often marvel at the sight of dead trees and I am surprised by the extent of those amazing root systems that are so critical to the survival of each tree. Aside from keeping the tree’s massive structure firmly anchored in the ground during a storm and heavy winds, they are even more important in times of drought and adversity, when their ability to dig deep in hard ground decides the fate of the entire tree.
How deep are your roots? I confess that mine are sometimes shallow at best. Yes, they have sustained me during some terrible storms in my life, and I have been left standing, albeit sometimes stripped of my bark and leaves, but I have often found myself shaky and thirsty, and in those times I have found shelter in the arms of bigger, stronger trees – trees with deeper roots and more storms under their bark, than I have. Some of you reading this, may have been those trees in my life and I am deeply thankful to you for your love, protection, wisdom and shelter. For in those times, I have been able to recover from the storm and send my roots deeper – to tap into the life-spring of my Creator. I am persuaded that the strongest roots are those who pushed through the hardest soil in the severest droughts. The roots that ignored the weather reports and kept their focus.
When the end of my life comes and my roots lie exposed for all to see, may they testify not to the years of my life, or the magnitude of my roots – but to the power of the One who gave me life in the harshest droughts and the biggest storms. May they witness to others of the unending love and faithfulness of the God who loved, nourished and anchored me, even, or especially, when my survival was at stake. It is my hope and my prayer that others will have memories of finding shelter and comfort in the shade and protection of my tree, one day too. If you are in a storm today, I want to encourage you to dig deeper against the odds. Your efforts will be rewarded – there is life in the well-springs of the One who holds you heart in His hands and He will sustain you – even when all hope is lost in the drought.