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.
"Trust in the roots."
These words have echoed in my mind on a number of occasions this summer.
We started the season with two very late killing frosts. Aside from one of six marigold seedlings out of a six-pack, everything survived the freezes. Although things were delayed, they were coming back. As I worked to encourage growth, the words emerged into my consciousness: "Trust in the roots."
Then, in the second week of May, we experienced a micro-burst tornado, which dumped truckloads of hail on my gardens, stripping newly sprouted lilies and shredding hostas. I was sad, but I soldiered on, trimming dead leaves, feeding with SuperThrive, watering, cultivating, and above all, praying. "Please," I said to the Lord. "Trust in the roots," I heard in reply.
In mid-June, we hired landscapers to mulch for us. They used a technique I had never seen nor heard of. It involved using turbo-powered blowers to clear old mulch and fallen plant parts out of the beds, followed by dumping large quantities of mulch right on top of everything, and using the same turbo blowers to blow the new mulch back until the plants appeared again. Except, as tender, weather-damaged perennials (and a few annuals), many of them stayed under the thick layer of bark chips until the landscapers left and I carefully worked them free, lifting them with trembling fingers. Some never appeared again.
It has been a rough year for the flowers.
One plant seemed to be thriving in spite of it all, a pink agastache.
I thought, "This is a good plant, beautiful and tough. I would like to have three of them in this front bed."
Even then, damage was happening; the leaves started showing white markings almost as soon as the blossoms came out. But I didn't figure it out until after I came home after a week away.
Upon arriving home, I went out to check on my plants. The agastache was crispy and actively dropping leaves. My heart sickened.
I didn't know what it was. It looked like it could be anything from root rot to dehydration, or a disease or a bug. After much examination and reading, I determined that it was spider mites and began treating aggressively with neem oil.
The dead parts of the plant stayed dead. Infested leaves dried up and fell off. But that voice kept telling me, "Trust in the roots. Trust in the roots." Since it was spider mites, and not root rot, there was hope.
Over time, I noticed that new growth was indeed coming up from the base of the plant, from the roots. My agastache will not look good this year, but there is solid reason to hope that it will do much better next year. This was not a good season; it was not one of flourishing. But next summer could be much better.
It makes me think of people who falter in their faith. In a very rough season, it may appear that faith has failed, departed altogether. This is when we have to trust in the roots. Truths taught long ago have a way of settling quietly under the refuse of false presumptions during a bad season, but that does not mean they are gone, only buried by careless, even angry and destructive winds of wayward ideas. But the truth will emerge, by the grace of God, in His perfect time. A barren season does not mean the end of life, but it does mean that when life re-emerges, we will celebrate all the more.
Some of my annuals fizzled in the heat of August, leaves browning, stems lying prone on the ground. Now that September has brought cooler temperatures and shorter days, new shoots emerge from the bases of these plants, lush and green. Autumn buds are forming. Again, it's the roots.
...that according to the riches of His glory
He may grant you to be strengthened with power
through His Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend
with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ
that surpasses knowledge
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Jesus, Immanuel, never leaves nor forsakes His people. He will be with us forever. May the power of His precious Holy Spirit overcome all the evil and falsehood, all the doubts and despair. May He open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, and communicate the wonderful truth of who He is, the glorious life He has for us.
May those who are bent and broken under an unfruitful season find their cure in Jesus who loves us and gave Himself for us. May those who have gone astray in their spirits come back to understanding and stand in awe of the Lord who created and redeemed them.
The root is Christ, and Christ is God, and God is love.
Trust in the root.