Blog Post by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com.
(Read Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17:5-8)
I believe it was on our first Israel trip. We had just finished touring a number of sites up in the Galilee region, came down to Yardenit (just south of the Sea of Galilee) for some baptisms – awesome time by the way – and we prepared for the long trek down to the Dead Sea where we’d stay overnight.
Can’t remember if it was coming or going from the Dead Sea but as we were driving along the dry and desolate road all of a sudden a bush blows across right in front of us. My first impression was, “What in the world? Are we in West Texas?”
Tumbleweed blew past, and, in Israel no less! I came to find out through further research and discussion that this “Israeli tumbleweed” was a Juniper bush. Juniper bushes are known for their shallow roots. As little rain as the Dead Sea gets, these bushes get very little water; thus their roots stay shallow and near the surface. So, you can see why, at the first big wind after much heat, the poor little Juniper is at the mercy of the elements.
Interestingly, I contrasted this picture with what we had just experienced driving along the Jordan River from Galilee down to the Dead Sea. There were many, many trees BUT mostly along the river. Why? Simple answer I’m sure – there’s water nearby. That is very true. But another thing takes place, again because of the limited water sources in Israel.
As trees grow near the Jordan, the roots go deeper, almost like they’re on a mission to find water well below the surface. The deeper the search, the deeper the roots. Contrasting those trees with the Juniper bushes, great winds can come along and not bother the trees. Why? Because they have deep roots that hold the tree in place. How about dry times? No problem! Those trees are depending on water sources deep below the surface. Thus, those parched times don’t impact the tree’s roots.
Are you getting the picture here?
A question I ask myself often as I read passages like Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17 is – “How deep are my roots?” Do I keep my life close to the surface and get impacted by every trial that comes along. The honest answer is, “Yes, all too often”.
When the heat is on in my life, am I on a mission to go deeper in the Word or am I clinging to my surfacy existence?
So how do I apply this?
- You and I both experience heart-wrenching trials in our lives. Ever have a job that you loved get ripped right out of your life? Ever face the sudden loss of a loved one and haven’t the foggiest idea what in the world just took place?
- Heat in our lives is inevitable. We can either get blown away because of our surfacy orientation or we can see our roots grow deeper as we find the source of hope that is deeper than us.
- Heat is also necessary in the growth process. Healthy plants need just the right amount of heat, cool, light, dark, water, dryness, etc. So why would we expect it to be any different in our journey with Jesus? Believe me when I write this – I’ve been there – I’ve doubted big-time, I’ve turned my back on God. But when I recognize that He is the One allowing these experiences in my life, I try to ask God to help me sit up and take notice – What is He teaching me (again)? Do these trials drive me away from God or closer to Him? I’m daily trying to answer this for myself. Only you can answer this for yourself.