I drive by a certain stand of oaks on my way to work several days a week. These two dwell on a side hill as they have for well over a hundred years. The characteristic of their appearance that steals my attention is the exposure of roots on the top of the soil. Erosion has exerted itself on the ground they hold to. Damage has clearly been done. But I appreciate the artistry of it. It is way more interesting than a tree trunk sticking straight out of the ground. That is way too basic-geometrical for me. This one…this tells a story that I think would temporarily cure my attention deficit disorder.
Anthropomorphism. I am in danger of this when I look at these trees. These oaks are determined. They hang on to this side hill. When erosive forces would try to rob them of their rootedness, they hang on more tenaciously. They endure. They persevere. Roots reach deeper as the demands above ground increase. And these trees keep growing, season after season.
Rootedness. Depth. Connection.
“Let your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love…” I memorized that verse when I was a young zealot trying to follow Jesus and honor him with my life. And now, decades later, I look even more thoughtfully at these words. I have in fact endured difficult seasons. Erosion in various forms has and continues to exert itself on my life. I have felt seriously knocked down more than once. But the young zealot part of my heart found substantial rootedness in that soil called God’s marvelous love. It gives me something substantial to hold to. And it actually holds me.
I don’t think people have to look very hard to see exposed surface roots in my life. There has been erosion. Is undeniable and it would be foolish to try to hide it. Yet, under the erosion is a deep connection to the soil and rock. There is agreement between the young zealot and the seasoned man in me; this soil where my roots have found a home is wide and long and high and deep, consisting of a love surpassing all knowledge.