I recently was in the state of Washington and up into the Vancouver area. I am always delighted to take in the lush greenery of areas who enjoy more rain and humidity than the dry deserts of Arizona afford. Don't get me wrong, I love my desert! Yet, the stark contrast between what grows here versus what grows in such a lush region is amazing. The scrub of the desert probably is a little disappointing to the one from that region, but to me, it is a thing of mystery and beauty. Why? It never ceases to cause me to wonder at the ability of such flora and fauna to grow in such a seemingly desolate place!
What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin, while the roots of the righteous give life, and more life. (Proverbs 12:12 The Message)
The region we traveled into had some trees clearly marked with tags which told of their age, height, and the width of their base. What these tags did not say was how deep these 700 year old trees were, or what type of "base" soil they were rooted in. One thing which we saw over and over was the evidence of roots - some closer to the surface than I would have imagined for the size of the tree. What I did not see was the tap-root - but I did see evidence of it! The lush growth and upright stability of the huge cedar gave evidence of being well-rooted with a tap-root going deep into soil which nourished its growth.
Just about a month before I left on vacation, my Chinese Elm tree began to seriously drop its leaves. In fact, it was close to bare! I thought for sure I had lost it to Elm's Disease or some fungus. The first thing I thought to do was put more water on it. So, I strung the hose to it - leaving it running slow for periods of 4-6 hours about two times a week. Then, just to be sure nothing was "attacking" my tree, I put out some ant crystals. Then, as though God specifically heard my prayers of not wanting to lose this great shade tree in my backyard, we enjoyed about three good rainstorms which actually dumped a good deal of rain in our neighborhood.
By the time I returned home, my tree was in full-leaf again! You cannot imagine the joy I felt when I rounded the corner and saw my backyard enveloped in the greenery of its branches again! Why did I turn to watering what looked so barren and without hope? I knew it had deep roots! This tree has survived the twisting storms of the monsoons and the 50-mph winds that come with these babies. It endured the hottest 122-degree summer scorcher and faithfully filled out with new leaves each spring. So, I knew it had more than surface-roots. It had a tap-root deeper than I could see - it just wasn't getting enough water.
So, why do I share this tree saga with you this morning? I think it is because WHERE we are planted matters, but what happens with our growth is really in huge part a matter of how well our "tap-root" connects with the resources we need! The tap-root is a huge root, kind of straight in its growth, with lots of little appendages which sprout off it. The tap-root is what makes the transplanting of the plant so difficult! It not only makes the plant hard to uproot, but it makes moving it from one base of "planting" to another. Now, do you see it? When our tap-root is deep into Christ - all other roots which stem from this are going to just hold us in position and help feed us. It makes us difficult to be uprooted by the struggles and challenges of the day-to-day stuff we have to deal with.
Do you know why you cannot get rid of dandelions by plucking them up from the earth? It is because of their tap-root. They grow back because the tap-root is still there! The evidence shows up again and again! I learned something about trees. You can almost predict the distance of their roots (those which grow sideways out from the tap-root) by measuring the height of the tree. They go out as far as the tree is high (or further)! Now, bringing this back to you and I - our secondary roots anchor us and help us be fed, but nothing is as important to our growth and stability as our tap-root. We all begin growth the same way - with a tap-root. WHERE this root is formed matters!
Not sure where you are "rooted" today. One thing I know for sure - your tap-root gives evidence of both your stability and your certainty of growth! Just sayin!