I planted a few azalea bushes earlier this spring and have been eagerly watching and waiting for them to bloom. As I’ve watched them, though, it occurred to me how little they’ve grown this year. In fact, they appear to be almost the exact same size as when I brought them home from the store!
As I was mentally grumbling about their lack of progress, God reminded me that they may not be growing up, but they’re growing down. They’re putting down strong roots, establishing strength in areas that I can’t see. They may not grow huge this year, but once those roots are established, they’ll grow large and fruitful in the upcoming years.
Life is like that, too. We need to establish strong roots in order to stand firm in the storms of life. Scripture describes this beautifully in Psalm 1:1-3: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 supports this: “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
When we put down roots spiritually, we learn to trust the Lord in the good times, so when times of heat, wind, or drought come, we are able to stand firm and bear fruit, even as those around us – those without deep roots – struggle and wither.
Whatever stage you’re at in your spiritual growth, be sure you’re putting down strong roots. Delight in scripture and meditate on it, avoid evil and be cautious of those who might entice you down a wrong path (Psalm 1). Trust the Lord and put your confidence in Him, not in yourself or your abilities or resources. (Jeremiah 17). Only then will you be strong enough to stand during the storms of life.