Change. Whether we like it or not, it’s here. For some, just looking at this 6 letter word invokes fear. For others, it is as invigorating as a thunderstorm on a hot summer day. While the thunder and lightning may seem uncomfortable and dangerous at times, we know that change is coming. What we’re hoping, is that after the storm subsides and we’ll feel that cool, refreshing, evening breeze. Problem is though, sometimes thunderstorms only seem to make a hot summer day even more unbearable than it already was. The sun comes out once again and combined with the moisture, we swelter for the rest of the day. Right now, only time will tell how lasting the effects of our stormy “stay-at-home” order will affect us.
I don’t have to tell you that this “new” world that we’re living in for the last 5 weeks, has brought about many changes. Some good, some bad. Who would’ve thought that life in the world outside of your home would come to a screeching halt? No going out to dinner, no church, no social gatherings, no sporting events, no soccer or baseball games for our middle schoolers. It seems like the list of “no’s” doesn’t really have an end. We feel like a toddler that’s just been told to sit on a chair. As social human beings, this lack of interaction can cause us to feel alone and disconnected.
It’s at times like this however, there can be bright spots in these changes. We can forget about the clock and focus on the here and now. While this looks a little different to each one of us, it gives us more time to play with our children, sit on the porch, and tend to things around the house. This can be a time of reflection, spiritually speaking. This can be a time of digging deeper into God’s word.
Change, for the most of us however, simply takes us out of our comfort zone. Whether good or bad, most of humanity resists change because what has become predictable and constant is now different. It’s as if the roots we allowed to bury themselves deeply beneath us have been pulled up and ripped out from under us. Early in our married life, my wife and I would spend many summer evenings outside in the yard, creating flowerbeds, planting annuals and perennials, just waiting to see how an ugly patch in the yard would morph into a thing of beauty.
I don’t know what the term “root bound” means to you, but to this young gardener it really didn’t mean much at all. My schooling came quickly though, after going to the local gardening shop. We came home with our newly purchased, potted plants and shrubs. Problem was, I noticed something unusual when removing the pot. It was a wall of roots on every side. You see, when a plant is confined to a container for any length of time it can become root bound. Plants, naturally, when planted in the ground, send out their roots in most every direction. These roots are searching for water and nutrients. But, when confined to the space inside the container, the roots become so intertwined and bound it’s hard to tell which direction they’re going. This is not sustainable for the plant. Change is needed. What I learned was this. In order for the plant to flourish, one must prune and even claw out some of those roots. It seems counterintuitive to take a shears and prune these roots and separate them, but that is what’s needed.
Let’s face it, these times are difficult. Social distancing is difficult. Restrictions are difficult. One of my co-workers just laid her mother to rest, all due to complications of Covid-19. Jobs are being lost. Our perspective on life right now, can make all the difference. Do we turn to Almighty God in times like these? Is this His way of pruning our world? Are we trying to do this on our own? Pruning and change are a necessary part of life, uncomfortable as it may be. Right now in a social sense our roots are being pruned. This may be our chance, to stand back and take a look, to improve those relationships with our families and those around us. In a Biblical sense it seems our spiritual roots are being pruned as well.
John 15:2 Jesus says: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.
While this passage refers directly to branches, it seems like the concept is also there when talking roots. Whether branches or roots, I challenge you to take this time that we have in history and give everything you have to God. Let him prune. Let him bring about a new season in your life. Like a root bound plant needs to be pruned, let Him prune and trim. After this season of change is thru, you may one day look back and realize that this Master Gardener knew what He was doing after all.
Blessings & have a great week!