I have a secret wish to stand beneath a giant Redwood tree in California and look up. I want to lean into the tree and put my arms out as far as I can and feel the strength of an ancient beauty and wonder about its Maker.
LIVING AND LEADING
Our world is so complex and painful right now. Most of us would see ourselves as caring, purposeful people. We are busy working jobs, caring for homes and families, paying mortgages, respecting the law. Giving to the needy where we can.
Sometimes this in itself is a pretty demanding process. Add to it the struggles of our nation and the nations of the world. How do we navigate this intense passageway in our personal and national history?
I have been listening to Peter Scazzero’s book, Emotionally Healthy Leader, and pondering some of his words of wisdom. He says our OUTWARD life is sustained and supported by our INNER life.
The entire structure of my living and leading in my home and community rests upon the foundation of my interior being. Speaking to pastoral leaders, Scazzero says it’s easier to lose yourself in the process of manipulating an institution (like a church or business) than it is to face and work with your own soul.
Ouch and wow.
WISDOM FROM A TREE
Which brings us back to the California Redwoods. These beauties reign majestic at 300 feet tall and live 500-700 years. It takes 8 people arm to arm to surround one. While this towering wonder of nature astounds the mind on the surface, I think there is something even more amazing and breathtaking to consider.
All that 300 feet of height and 30 feet diameter and girth is COMPLETELY and equally matched BENEATH the earth’s surface by a MASSIVE root system.
Maybe you have heard the analogy of the mighty oak tree clinging fiercely to the side of the mountain with a deep tap root that has pierced and smashed through the rocks to find the hidden aquifers. I love this picture, too. It has helped me weather some tough places in life.
It is interesting to know though that God has created different types of root systems for varying terrains.
Can you guess what type of root system is capable of anchoring and sustaining a Giant Redwood? Amazingly true...that these roots are only 6 feet deep into the earth. The difference? They spread out all around the tree to the length of 100 feet along earth’s crust. This is a massive surface area for drinking in water and minerals. (For a profound scripture about this, check out Psalm 1 in the Bible.)
Ok, now comes the coolest part! The roots of the entire forest WEAVE together underground to create a powerful anchoring network of trees which sustains them together in fierce storms.
TWO BIG IDEAS
I see God has written two critical ideas into this ancient wonder for us.
1. We need a vigorous, vital inner life connection to the Sustainer of life in order to stand our ground and fulfill our purpose in this world.
2. We need to weave our lives together with other Redwoods for stability and strength.
How is your root system today? Can you see areas where you might need to stretch and grow your inner life?
What will it take for you to connect to other Redwoods for stability and strength?
Please consider sharing something from your personal story or habits or a comment to foster a conversation on this topic. We make each other stronger.
Father, please help us to tend to our hidden roots as much as to the outward missions and responsibilities of our lives. You are the Creator and Sustainer of all things and You are for us. Amen