We are all transplants in this Kingdom, all ball of roots, shook out and replanted insecure, longing for our heart’s true home.
We are adopted children of the most High who wander through the world with amnesia forgetting to come home, forgetting where our bread (acceptance, security, purpose, Life) comes from. We turn towards whispers of “little l” life with hope-filled faces and turn away from the arms always offered.
We are basically earth scorched thirsty people searching for living water, quenching our thirst in the most unhealthy/unholy of ways.
Everywhere I go, when I’m turning toward another voice in hope of some piece of the puzzle coming together, I hear an echo of Him, “Daughter, Come back to Me. Don’t go too far. Attach. Dwell. Abide.”
It takes three years for plants to reach down in foreign soil and establish. Three springs that follow three cold winters before they begin to thrive.
The gardeners at the Center where I bought my white hydrangeas said to chop off the big snowball blooms for two full years. The roots’ establishing was more critical than beauty, she lectured, tenderly patting the black plastic base. Let them spread all their energy to the tightening, spreading roots and then, she promised, they’ll bloom strong into the years.
It’s the roots we can’t see, the roots spread firm in Him that create the lasting beauty.
Around that same time wandering through a Christian bookstore, I stared at a black and white Ansel-Adams-like photo. She was a queen of a tree, full of leaves, standing alone, a lace of intricate branches. Underneath the photo was Ephesians 3:17 “Rooted and established in love.” Paul, midway through his letter was praying for the Ephesians. Now, Paul was hardcore. A missionary of missionaries. I imagine him a bit wild-eyed, like I’d have to look away if I tried to look straight at him. And yet much of his writings come straight back here, straight to the importance of being rooted in God’s love.
The full verses of 17 through 19 go like this, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” We need to be rooted in love in order to be filled with God.
Chapter 8 in Romans, the chapter I would gladly take to a deserted island (or maybe just a four star hotel) and feast on for weeks, climaxes in this: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The man was rooted and established in some serious hummus-filled love. You’d have to be in order to endure the whips, the chains, the prison isolation, the shipwrecks. He’d be dashed and wrecked about the rocks of life without that firm anchor of love. And maybe that’s all we’ve known.
We are so often like adopted children wondering where home really is, insecure, fearful when my dear friends, our Abba is firmly here with us. “I will never leave you or forsake you,” (Mt 28:20)
Every moment we:
stop and look into His eyes,
whisper “Jesus” in joy or wonder,
search the Word for his self-revelation,
fill up the lungs, drink deep breaths of His love,
bring our fears to his lap,
take our sins to the cross,
listen, getting used to the sound of His voice,
worship with arms outstretched,
or double back, saying thank you.
All this roots and establishes us a little deeper.
It is the constant abiding John talks about, the branch coming in close, attaching firm to the Vine.
Christianity is less a lifestyle of trying hard and more a constant doubling back, coming in close. And the most beautiful service, the most powerful wave-walking trust and firm obedience? It comes naturally out of the coming in close.
The beauty will come. One day it fill unfold into bloom. And my friend, I can already see in you the tight nubs whispering of future glory.
And you, my friend, how do you send the roots down deep into love?