The wind was blowing so hard that day, I was afraid someone was going to end up in Oz; and this isn’t even Kansas, Dorothy. I was in my office during one of those blustery hours, but you could not miss the roar outside. At times the winds were approaching hurricane force. I mean, they were knocking out electric power to many customers, they’re tearing branches off trees, and in one case while we were still living in the northeast, it was causing the deaths of four schoolgirls in New York City. They were actually in their church-school van when a 60mph gust whipped down the street, uprooted a 68-foot high maple tree, which fell on the van, killing those girls instantly. But the next day the mayor suggested that this was a tragedy that did not have to happen. Several months earlier, a nearby sidewalk had been paved without a permit, and that possibly weakening the roots of that tree. So, it may not have been the storm that caused the tragedy; it might have been the weakened roots.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about “Roots That Hold.”
If your roots don’t go deep enough, the storm can uproot you just like that tree in New York. In fact, it could be that the recent storms in your life have blown you around violently and maybe you’ve even fallen to despair, or temptation, unbelief, or back to an old you that you thought you were done with.
I don’t know what your storm has been, but I do know that it may not be the storm that brought you down. It might be shallow roots; weakened roots–roots that have been neglected or just don’t go deep enough for life’s major onslaughts. Life’s storms expose shallow roots. Maybe that’s what’s been happening to you.
Maybe your faith has been rooted in your feelings, and when your feelings took a nose-dive, so did your faith. Or could it be that you’ve been trying to make it with a second-hand faith; maybe your parent’s Jesus, your church’s Jesus, your spiritual leader’s Jesus. But somewhere, you may have missed getting a one-on-one relationship with Jesus that’s yours, your very own; one that’s not dependent on your Christian environment. When the winds are strong, a second-hand faith, it’s not going to survive.
Or maybe you’re a fair-weather follower of Jesus. You hang onto Him when things are going your way, but when they aren’t, you wander off from your Savior. One other kind of roots that won’t hold you–living for the approval and the attention of a certain person or a group of people. If that’s where your worth is, I’ll tell you, it’s only a matter of time before you’re going down. Now to our word for today from the Word of God. Strong roots, Isaiah 33:6, “The Lord will be the sure foundation for your times.” A life that’s deeply anchored to a growing personal relationship with this Lord is holding onto the one thing that no storm can uproot.
The very first Psalm describes a person who is “like a tree planted by streams of water.” Did you get that? Planted. Solid. Not going anywhere. How can you be that person? It says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners.” In other words, stop flirting with sin. Every time you do, you weaken your roots. That sin comes between you and your anchor, your Lord.
The Psalm goes on, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” So, you make your daily time with Jesus the most important, most non-negotiable thing in your day. You avoid the weakening pull of sin and compromise. You make a priority of the strengthening that comes from daily time in God’s Word, and that’s where deep roots come from. Every day that you have quality time with your Lord, your roots go a little deeper into Him and you become a little more storm-proof.
So don’t wait for the storm to suddenly start developing your roots in your relationship with God. It’s too late then. The landscape is filled with those who have fallen; not because the storm was so strong, but because their roots were so weak. Don’t let that happen to you.