We were reading Ephesians 3: 17-19 in different translations. They all say basically the same thing, but one phrase in the Living Bible- May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love suddenly brought two vivid pictures to my mind.
Several years ago, we had a nice spring with just enough showers to get the corn crop off to a good start. As spring turned to summer, the showers came less frequently and then almost came to a halt. It was hot and dry. But the corn seemed to flourish in spite of it all. Late that summer it was still dry, but a farmer had to dig deep beside the corn field to fix a stretch of drainage tile. Several feet down, he noticed the corn roots still reaching down into the soil. His interest was piqued so he kept following the roots to see how deep it would go. Even at seven feet and beyond, the roots had still travelled down to get the nourishment the corn stalk needed. Because of the persistence of those roots in the darkness and rich humus of the soil, hidden from the human eye, the corn stalk above ground remained healthy and productive.
The other picture comes from a visit to the lake country of England. Several years ago, on a hike through the countryside, I observed something unique and intriguing. A stone wall ran through a wooded area. There, we saw it. On top of a three or four-foot stone wall that was more than a foot wide, grew a tree whose trunk was already at least six inches through and the crown reached a height of 25 or 30 feet. The roots grew down each side of the stone wall and into the ground at the base. The roots were sturdy and thick, anchoring the tree well and providing the nourishment for the tree to remain healthy and strong.
Our roots are vitally important too. In fact I wonder if we are as diligent as that corn or the tree about reaching down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love, finding there nourishment for our souls. How diligent are we to follow the life-giving ‘moisture’ that makes us impervious to the inevitable droughts that come?
The corn or the tree did not think its aims to be self-centered or selfish to make roots the main focus. The verses in Ephesians following that phrase, urge us to put down those roots until we can feel and understand how wide, how deep and how high his love really is and to experience that love for ourselves even though we will never fully fathom its greatness. And guess what! If we do this we will be “filled up with God himself!” That should be incentive enough.
If we concentrate on putting down roots, growth “above ground” will surely happen and God will look after the pruning of that part and we will become more fruitful that we ever could without those vital roots. . Verse 20 says that, in fact, our life will flourish ‘infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes. Wow! What am I waiting for? What about you?