I was out walking… honestly, so many of my revelations, the whisperings from my heavenly Father, are received on these regular walks of mine, when the sun is in its infancy and the tracks are lonely.
I was out walking, admiring the beauty around me; the craggy cliff faces stroked smooth and lined by the movements of the tidal river below; the merry clumps of hydrangeas in bright contrast with the grey-green of eucalypts; the air a-hum with cicada song.
I was mesmerised by all of this as I scoped an uprooted tree, sprawling down the steep side of the track, silver and dying.
I walked past.
And as I continued, I thought about how the tree was upside down, its roots pointed up like branches and its branches digging down like roots.
I turned back, walked the hundred or so metres back up steps to look again at this tree that seemed to be talking to me. Not like the talking trees in The Chronicles of Narnia or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz but more as a symbol of something, like a war memorial or an astonishing piece of artwork.
It was a warning to me.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
For those brief moments, as I beheld that sad tree, I was warned of the consequences when we plunge our roots into anything but the goodness of God; His loving salvation, His grace, truth and hope. When they are fixed on anything else, on human strivings for wealth, beauty, success – even happiness – we become like that tree with its roots waving in the air. We invest our hope and security in nothing more than wind and dust, starving ourselves of true and lasting sustenance.
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'”
We’re upside down to the world.
Investing our energy, time and resources in a God we cannot see is on the whacko scale for anyone who hasn’t yet encountered Him for themselves.
Or can we see Him?
I see Him in the gentle way I am watered and cared for. The Tender Gardener nourishes me to my core and I am daily amazed by the reality of His presence in my life.
When my roots are right way down, plunged into His Word, His presence, His truths, my branches are strong and stretched wide with joy, ready for His plans to be made whole in me.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”