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Don't just deal with what is seen

It was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who quipped: "If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on." Oh, boy, is that one right on, or what? There are so many today who live like their lives are entirely their own, taking actions they don't do such a good job of thinking upon prior to taking, then they look at those all around them as though they should have been rescued instead of reaping the consequences of those actions. They cry out for someone to have intervened - to have stopped the pain for them - but they do absolutely nothing to remove themselves from the very thing that causes them all the pain.

The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. (Proverbs 12:2-3 NLT)

The godly have deep roots - the difference between the wise and the unwise is in the roots, but also in the place the roots take hold. The roots are one thing - but the placement of those roots is quite another. My son-in-law is digging up roots that are leaving his yard rather uneven, causing it to be very hard to place things under that tree that gives such good shade to the patio. He desires to have his many varieties of hot peppers planted under that tree, but in order to do that, he has to level the ground to make a way for a bed to be built around that tree's base. In order to level the ground, he has to deal with the roots that are just way too close to the surface.

It is often the things that we see on the surface of our lives we deal with first (sometimes these are all we deal with). We see them - noticing their affect in our lives - so we deal with them. This is not uncommon for us - dealing with what we can see or appreciate to be there in our lives, all the while missing the roots that go much deeper. These surface roots are what give us problems - especially when they are the only roots that hold us rooted at all. I commented to my daughter that I think there are roots much deeper for this tree, because it is in an area that gets enough water and it has been challenged by many a wind storm, surviving well. I am not worried that dealing with these problematic surface roots will topple the tree.

There are times when all the roots we see are all the roots that exist - problematic as they are, to dig them up is to affect the entire stability of what is growing from those roots! In life, there are times when the best thing we can do is to be transplanted into different soil - to allow those roots to take hold in a place, and in conditions that foster the deepest growth in us. We may only want to deal with the things we can see on the surface, but God is after the deeper roots in our lives. These are the roots that cause us to complain when we feel things aren't going "our way" in life - even when we have chosen a way that is totally contrary to reason or knowledge. The difficulty of the transplanting process is not all that easily embraced by some, but it can become the very place we develop in such a manner so as to be able to take deep root, develop strength and stability in our walk, and to foster new growth that will outlast the hardest seasons in life. 

We might deal with what is on the surface, but if what is underneath the surface is never dealt with, it will resurface once again. We might complain when the way gets hard and the progress is slower than we wanted it to be, but God isn't dealing with just those things we see - he is after things much, much deeper - the things that will give us wisdom in trouble and strength in times of the greatest tempests of temptation we can experience. Just sayin!


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