The beautiful Bradford Pear tree gracing my front yard every Spring with a magnificent array of white flowers lie lifeless and broken across the lawn as I returned from errands yesterday.
This was my first real venture out following the pounding storms the region had experienced the past two weeks. Floods brought extreme devastation to some and seemed to affect everyone in some fashion. Copious amounts of water flooded my basement during the first storm, then more flooding to my upstairs and basement again with the second storm. Grateful and singing songs of praise to God with Caleb as the car radio blasted our favorite music, we were elated the sun was shining again. The wind gusts were barely noticeable in our joy. But the fierce winds played havoc on the majestic tree I had often admired every season with its flowers in the Spring, green leaves in the Summer, and color display every Fall. This tree provided beauty and shade; however its name is somewhat misleading in that it produces no fruit at all. I took a picture of the fallen tree and thanked God that it did not hit the house. I found out from people who have lived in this area for a long time that Bradford Pear trees are notorious for falling down. Their root system is shallow. What I could formerly see from the ground up was not supported by what was hidden beneath. The common saying that “Beauty is only skin deep” was certainly applicable here as well, altering one word. “Beauty is only root deep”.
I took a walk today to observe the aftermath of the storms in my neighborhood. As I walked down Shady Lane, named I assume for the old Oak trees lining the road, I noticed they were standing tall and unmoved. I recalled that they did not ever grace the season with buds or blooms fascinating the eye. Their trunks were thick and rather old looking. They did provide welcome shade in the hot Summer and shared a bit of color in the Fall.
Research on the root systems of Oak tree roots helped me understand that even though the roots may not grow particularly deep, they do spread out very wide. Thus they are able to withstand heavy rains, storms, and wind because their foundation is sturdy and stable. Unfortunately, the Bradford Pear tree with its shallow root system was vulnerable to the storms; therefore mine fell and is now withering, awaiting a family member to cut it up and re-purpose it for firewood.
Storms are inevitable as well as seasonal. Some fascinate us as we look upon the power of God. Some place us in a tailspin wondering what to do next. Some take away all we have. Just as weather related storms test the stability of the structures we dwell in and the nature around us, storms of life test us regarding the very foundation where place our faith and trust. Colossians 2:7 NLT says, “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Even though I did not expect two floods in my home in one week, nor a beautiful tree to be uprooted in my yard, I dare say I was prepared. Perhaps not emotionally, but spiritually as I have been growing my roots deep in God’s Word. Because of this, just as the old Oak trees lining Shady Lane, by God’s grace I am not moved, uprooted, or shaken. I take no credit for this. It is all to His glory, for it is His foundation that stabilizes me and makes me stronger.
There will be more storms in my life and in yours. Prepare now. Don’t get caught up in appearances of looking good for others to see and admire. Beauty without roots and a strong foundation is temporal. God’s Word is eternal and unshakable. When you weather the storm being rooted in Him, you cannot help but be overcome with gratitude. The losses melt away. The blessings override. And the sun shines again.