“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians 4:3–4
A while back, I had a vivid dream that still impacts me.
I was walking through a grove of very tall trees. Somehow, in the dream, I knew they were Redwood trees, although I’ve never seen a Redwood in my life.
The trees were growing quite close together. All of a sudden my dream took me underground and I saw the root system of these trees. It was massive; complex and incredibly widespread. But what amazed me most was the way the roots of each tree was so entwined around the tree nearest to it that I couldn’t tell which roots belonged to which tree. They were fused together, from years of growing together.
I knew immediately that this dream was a picture of the church.
Then I saw a tree being uprooted and it was so awful to see what happened underground. Big chunks of the roots of the other trees broke off, as the beautiful tree wrenched itself away. A massive gaping hole was left in the forest where the tree had been, with bits of broken root from that tree and the trees it had been entwined with, lying discarded in the dust.
When people leave churches for the wrong reasons, perhaps unresolved conflict, or because they imagine they might find greener pastures elsewhere, they don’t think about the very real truth that they are not just hurting themselves.
That ‘uprooted’ person leaves behind an an aftermath of bits of broken roots and a huge gaping hole where he or she once grew.
Redwood trees don’t grow alone.
They grow in groves or forests. As followers of Jesus, we are not meant to grow and ‘do life’ alone.
Redwoods have a root system as wide underground as the trees are tall above ground. As their roots spread, they intertwine with the roots of the all the other Redwood trees. This interlocking root system is so strong that the trees literally hold one another up.
The Redwood is created to resist drought, fire, insects, disease, mudslides, flooding, violent storms and strong winds;
There are two reasons it can do all these things.
1. It’s ability to draw up and store thousands upon thousands of gallons of water, enabling year round growth and even helping them survive through drought.
2. The fact that they grow in forests. That incredible root system is a formidable opponent – any outside threat such as storms, high winds, even fire has to ‘take on’ the whole forest together, not an individual tree!
Let’s be like this, Church! Let’s allow our roots to grow deeper into Christ, drawing constantly from Him, our life source. He has equipped us with everything we need to live for Him; 2 Peter 1:3
Let’s be like that tree in Psalm 1:2–3
“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
And also Jeremiah 17:7-8
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
Like the Redwood, The Lord has created us with the capacity to ‘draw up and store water’ – the Living Water of the Word of God, which is our source of life. We can’t survive without it, but with it we can face all the storms and droughts of life.
Lastly let’s allow our roots to entwine with one another’s. Put down roots in the Church family God has placed you in. Let your guard down and be vulnerable. Trust and be trustworthy.
When we see one of our number struggling, or under attack, let’s show the enemy of our soul, the devil that he’s going to have to take on the whole forest!!
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