It doesn’t take much to see that we are in difficult times. It’s one crisis after the other. From foreclosures to unemployment, oil spills to record high gas prices, earthquakes to tornadoes and this is just a few. People are finding themselves in situations they never thought they would be in. Many are having more than one crisis hit them at once. It can be overwhelming at times. How is this affecting God’s people?
I got a word picture not long ago of a tree. This tree was large, its trunk was thick, and it looked healthy. The root system was well established in the ground and the roots ran deep. Even though at first glance, the tree looked healthy and strong, with a closer examination one could see weak spots in the tree, with an even closer examination one could see the weaknesses in the tree were generating from issues within the root system. In some places the roots did not go into the ground, instead they went into these separate containers that kind of looked like square pots sitting on top of the ground, the roots were drawing nourishment from these other places. It seemed that drawing from these separate places was causing issues with the health and the stability of the tree. These separate containers represented things like our jobs/ careers, our bank accounts, our education, our success in ministry, our success in business, our big houses, our expensive cars, praise from man, our perceived status among others, etc.
I guess you may be thinking, what does that have to do with difficult times?
Well the Lord spoke to me about the word picture. The tree represented some of us. For the most part we are rooted and grounded in good soil, or the Word, and it is nourishing us and enabling us to grow strong. However, there were also places where our roots were drawing from other sources that they should not. Now these things are not necessarily bad, however if we are drawing from these places to feed who we are, this is not good. The root of a tree does not only draw nourishment for the tree, the roots also anchor the tree into the ground. So the fact the parts of the root system was not securely planted into the soil, but instead planted in pots that sat on top of the soil was affecting the stability as well.
On a calm day, this may be fine. But the strength of a tree is revealed in the midst of trouble. Whether it is a storm or a drought, how much the tree is able to withstand and remain, tells of its strength. Now a tree’s strength comes from its root system. A tree with a good root system in the ground can withstand longer periods without rain because the ground can hold moisture longer than a shallow pot. It also can withstand stronger winds because it is firmly anchored in the ground instead of being planted in a pot that sits on top of the ground.
I believe that the Lord has allowed some of these crisis’, whether it be storms or droughts to enable us to actually identify where we are not rooted properly. Once this is identified, we can bring correction to improper root systems. I believe that as we move forward, we will continue to see troubled times and if we are not rooted properly we will not be able to withstand it. For many, these trying times have challenged mindsets and paradigms, it some cases it has even challenged people’s theology and belief systems. God is correcting where we are not aligned properly with His word. He is correcting our perception and our thought processes. This is paramount in order for us to endure in the seasons ahead.
God must be the source of all things for us. He is our only sure foundation. When we are rooted and grounded in Him, we are able to withstand great turmoil. We may feel the effects of the turmoil; however we are still able to stand. If we do not correct where we have allowed things like financial success or elevated position to feed who we are, it will become a snare in the next season. Furthermore, if we do not allow the Lord to correct incorrect perceptions and incorrect theology we will begin to question or doubt God when we see things happen that do not fit into our “God Box.”
Our stability cannot be based on how much is in our bank account or the size of our paycheck. Our worth cannot come from our education or the success we have achieved in ministry or in our career. Our joy and our peace cannot come from everything going our way. Sometimes things are not going to turn out the way we wanted it to or the way we thought it would. Sometimes our house may be the one the tornado hits this time. Sometimes we may pay our tithe and still get laid off. Sometimes we may lose all the money in our 401k because the stock market crashed, how will we handle this. Sometimes our house actually does get foreclosed on and we have nowhere to go, will this shake our faith in God. Will we still be able to find joy and peace?
I will say again God MUST be the source of ALL things for us, for truly He is our only sure foundation. He must be the source of our joy, our peace, our nourishment, our contentment, our stability, our happiness, our protection, our provision, our answer to every question. When we are rooted in Him and He is the source, it doesn’t matter if all those other things in the separate pots are shaken or totally removed; we remain unaffected by the change. We remain stable, firmly planted, and strong in the Lord. Where are your roots planted?
“And he shall be like a tree firmly planted…” Psalms 1:3 AMP