I love to watch a storm blow around my house here in rural New Jersey. The trees bend under the strain. I am watching a struggle – wind and tree – and it is amazing to me! When Hurricane Sandy blew through here so violently a few years ago, the wind won and a tree toppled onto the wires leading to my house, damaging the transformer that feeds power to my house, tearing out the lines that connect me to the rest of the world. The root system on that tree, which was about 35 feet tall could not hold, but all around the one that fell, hundreds of trees were held upright by an unseen root system. Their strength came from what was below the surface!
Storms are going to blow through life. Will you stand?
Difficult times will rock your world. Will you fall apart?
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians includes this petition: “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you (will be) rooted and established in love.” (Eph 3:17) He mixes his metaphors. “Rooted” is an agricultural reference to plants with a well-developed root system that are able to withstand dry times and harsh winds. “Established” is about structures that rest on a solid foundation that keeps them from settling, cracking, and collapse. Where do those roots grow? Into love! What is the solid foundation? Love! Truth is important. Doctrine is not to be ignored. However, when the storms are raging, it is love for Him and His love for us that will keep us. Beth Moore writes that “A plant or tree is as strong as its roots are deep. The deeper you and I are rooted in the unfailing love of God, the less we sway when the winds of life blow harshly. When I am going through a difficult time, this truth becomes my anchor: God cannot make a decision for my life outside His lavish love for me.” (Breaking Free)
It is noteworthy that in Paul’s prayer in Ephesians just before he prays for Christians to be steady and grounded in God’s love, he prays that they will come to know Christ’s Presence ‘dwelling’ in their hearts!
Jesus is not be a Person we visit at church, Someone we reach out and contact occasionally. We can invite Him to ‘move in and take up residence!’ Our relationship to Him is best illustrated by marriage, when a woman and a man in love, take the permanent step of commitment and, with holy vows become ‘one,’ living together and, over time, blending their lives so that ‘me’ becomes ‘we,’ in a union that makes both stronger. Have you invited Jesus to move in? Is your life irrevocably given to Him, discovering Him love in ever new and wonderful ways, day after day?
During Bev’s (my late wife) illness and since her death the number one temptation with which I struggle is knowing and accepting God’s love. My Self rises in resistance to say, “If He loved you, how could He do this to her?” I must go to the Word where I find the assurance that no matter how things look from where I stand, with limited vision and understanding, He is a good Father, who loved Bev deeply and who loves me. When, by faith, I submit to the will of my loving Father, I rest! My soul is nourished by worship. Anxiety is replaced with peace. Again and again, I fill my mind and heart with this declaration – “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? …No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39, NLT)
So, invite Him to move in.
Pray to know His love.
And you will stand – rooted and established in love that is not superficial, but growing deep below the surface.
Here is a word from the Word. Know it, believe it, live it.
“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit.” (1 John 4:9-13, The Message)
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
Stuart Townend © 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055