“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
As I pulled harder and harder, it finally broke and I fell with a thud to the ground. With stickered vines surrounding me, I cried. I had been pulling at them for what seemed like hours and they only seemed to be multiplying. They were deeply rooted and I had to dig and pull, and dig and pull some more to free one single root. It was maddening! This flower bed around a beautifully established shade tree near the front of our 5 acres had been neglected far too long and the weeds had taken over. It didn’t happen overnight but a little at a time, this once vibrant garden had reduced to a big pile of overgrown weeds, choking out the beauty and life. As I sat on the ground, with scratched up arms, frustrated, I felt a gentle whisper through the breeze, “This is your life. And this is your struggle.”
Over the last year, I had turned my life back to God and was seeking Him again. I was trying to clean up the mess I’d created but still hadn’t internalized that I couldn’t do it. Pulling up my own weeds, I wasn’t getting anywhere at all. In fact, the thorns were hurting me, piercing me with regret. I realized in that moment as my Father wrapped me in His arms and gently spoke, that I needed Him to use His supernatural gardening skills to make me beautiful again. He was my only hope. He was the protection from the pain of the thorns. He had forgiven me and was waiting for me to allow Him to have complete control. I could think I’d pulled up a weed but the root was still there, festering and growing, waiting to rear its ugly thorns once again.
When sin is rooted deep in your life and you’ve left it there for long periods of time, it chokes out the beauty. We can pull it up, but most of the time, there are still underlying roots that lie dormant for a time. We can feverishly work at cleaning our lives up but if we don’t let Christ do it for us, the weeds of sin will at some point come to the surface again.
In that moment, I released all control. I asked my Father to take the reins in cleaning up my life and acknowledged that He was my only hope. I asked Him to plant in me good roots and to nurture them as they grew deeper and deeper, so that I would stand firm in all seasons of my life. The tension released and a calm come over me that is unexplainable. Sobbing, I sat in silence for a long while thinking about what I’d learned. What HE had taught me.
As I sat on the ground, dirty, sweaty, and in need of Him, He found me and loved me where I was.
Peace. It had been a long time, but I was finally at peace.
I picked myself up and cleaned up the mess around me but I never worked in that flower bed again. To this day, it is a reminder to me of the damage that weedy roots can have in my life. Sin, anger, bitterness, hopelessness, and depression have NO room to take root when the life of Jesus completely fills me. So every day, I give my life to Him. I pray for protection. I pray for Him to have complete control.
And I thank Him for the the flower bed failure that changed my life.
What roots have you bound? Jesus is the only one able to pull them up. Will you let Him?