The word root is defined as the part of a thing attaching it to a greater or more fundamental whole. Without roots, the oak trees in my back yard would tumble. The wind and the rain would prevail and the leaves would shrivel and die. They are the foundation that brings forth life.
Some of us have good strong roots, going back as far time. Generation after generation of wisdom and guidance, growing a forest of solid lumber standing tall. We can look back at the fruit produced with pride and tradition. Yet still, there are those of us who have been ravished by fire. Our roots are trampled deep in the ground and truth be told we’d just as soon cover them with dirt, never to be seen again. Where there was once life, only ashes and burned, charred stumps remain. It’s hard to visualize the life that was once there.
Job could relate, and so can I. Maybe you can too.
Job 14:7-9: At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.
“…at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.”
I don’t know about you friend, but this fills my core with hope. The kind of hope I can’t keep to myself. My husband hardly had both feet in the door tonight when I pulled these words off the pages and handed them to him like a gift.
Have you ever witnessed the aftermath of a forest fire? The day after would leave barren land but, what then? Fire sweeping through a forest takes with it the weeds and over growth, reducing the risk of future wildfires. It restores life-giving nutrients and welcomes in healthier plant growth in the future.
Sometimes, these fires are intentional to bring forth new life.
We are settling in after a move several states away from the place we put our roots down most of our lives. Finding our rhythm has been both exciting and cautious. It has required a little bit of intention and a whole lot of faith! Part of our tradition at Christmas time is an advent devotional by Ann Voskamp . It was a familiar piece of our past we were able to share together once again. Every year, I am taken in anew by the hope offered through Jesus’ family tree. The devotional encourages on Day 1 with this:
“Once, in the truest story that you have ever heard, His-Story, which is really your very own story, there was this family – Jesse’s family. A family that was like yours, like a tree with branches of these relatives and those brothers and those sisters – a family that loved each other and hurt each other and forgave each other and failed each other. A family that failed God. Their family tree was a fallen tree. The stump – and all of their days – felt utterly hopeless.
But it happened: the wondrous impossible. It came right out of that chopped-down stump – the miracle no one ever dreamed of. Except for God.
If you slowed and looked very close, you could actually see it, coming straight out of that family tree that had been cut right down – a miraculous shoot was springing up out of the stump! A tender and vulnerable green shoot was growing hope again!”
Isaiah 53:2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him…a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Maybe you can identify with the tall, strong oaks in my yard but maybe, you can identify with Jesus and Job. If you’ve never thought Jesus could identify with you, let me make you a cup of coffee and share my story.
I hope the pages of this blog bring you encouragement. I want to share with you how the very scent of water put forth shoots of green, persistent life out of the stump of my family tree.
In His grace,