“In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a ESV)
Recently, I saw a photograph in which a koala bear clung for dear life to a branch high above the ground. His eyes were squinted tightly shut as if to block out an approaching disaster. The caption read, “Life can surely drive you up a tree.” If a picture is really worth a thousand words, that photograph may be the best response to the title of this message.
Many Americans lament the rootlessness of our society. Most of us would grant that we tend to be a bit footloose. Being single simply makes us more so. It’s not too difficult to change apartments, jobs, or cities. If we decide we want a change and can handle it, we’re likely to go ahead without being too concerned about the effects of our decision on someone else. To me, this freedom is one of the chief advantages of being single. But the question becomes this: How much of this freedom are we willing to sacrifice for security, the feeling of belonging?
Too many changes, too little permanence, too much independence can create a great deal of stress in our lives, too. For some people, change seems to be the only permanence they know. They skip from job to job, city to city, relationship to relationship—always looking for greener pastures, but they seem, very often, to be running from themselves.
On the other hand, avoiding change at all costs can create a predictable and stifling boredom. When life comes along and tries to drive us up a tree, it might be comforting to know that our tree had roots, and that the roots were not staying in place merely by force of habit.
Where then can we find stability in life without succumbing to stagnation, without resisting everything that might be different, or outside our comfortable way of doing things? How do we grow and lean into new experiences yet still keep our feet on level ground, not becoming victim to life’s shifting sands?
The apostle Paul has an answer to these age-old conundrums. “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).
For Paul, the crucified and risen Savior was everything—his very breath and being, his Companion along every turn of the road. Throughout his new life in Christ, Paul leaned on Jesus for stability, trusting Him with his life. Paul knew He would never fail nor forsake him—no matter how rough or unstable things were to become (see Deuteronomy 31:6).
This is the kind of rootedness we’re all looking for. Only in this kind of lifestyle can we ever find security.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, sink our roots of faith deep into the truth of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, November 1978 issue, “Who Needs Roots?” by Jane Fryar
1. Do you have a sense of your family tree, going back a generation or two?
2. Do you see your life as rooted in God and growing daily in your faith? What could you do to assist your spiritual growth and development?
3. How do you keep your life growing intellectually? Spiritually? Emotionally?