I am inspired by many people, one of whom is my dear sister Roshni. Her insight is invaluable to me and I hope this piece encourages you as it did for me! Check out her page TheGreaterWork.com
I recently came across an article about wild blueberry farmers in Eastern Canada who had lost vast portions of their crop in recent forest fires. Despite the staggering loss, one farmer was particularly hopeful that the fires would spark new growth quickly. Apparently, the same circumstances that might completely destroy other crops result in future abundance for the wild blueberry. The reason for this resilience is their root system.
Wild lowbush blueberries have large roots and belong to a class of plants called Rhizomes. These thick tuber-like root stalks have large stores of reserve nutrients that can send shoots upwards for new growth and laterally to other plants near them, strengthening each other and making them very hard to destroy. Nearly two-thirds of the plant remains underground as part of this root system.
I have to admit that I couldn’t stop thinking about these wild blueberries. You see, I had already been a little fixated on the word “rooted” this summer. We had just finished reading through the four Gospels as a family and I was really hoping that my two children would decide on their own to get baptized soon. While hoping, I was also steadfastly praying for them.
I prayed Colossians 2: 6-10 for them to be rooted and built up in Jesus and established in the faith; to know that the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ and that they have been filled by Him. I prayed Ephesians 3: 14-19 for them to be strengthened with power in their inner being through His Holy Spirit; to be rooted and firmly established in the vastness of Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, so that they would be filled with all the fullness of God. I also prayed Hebrews 12: 14-15 for them to live at peace with everyone and to live holy for God, while weeding out any poisonous root of bitterness that corrupts many.
One particular day, as I chewed, prayed, and meditated on these verses and the wild blueberry, I had the strangest urge to go look up the word “root” as presented in the Greek New Testament. I’d love to tell you that I do this all the time, but I really don’t unless the Holy Spirit nudges me to. Even before I found the word, something in my spirit knew that this would be a familiar word. And it was!
The word was ‘rhizo” ...the exact same root word from which we get our word Rhizome. I don’t believe that that’s random. It alludes to being rooted in a way where one is able to thrive despite adversity. It alludes to being deeply rooted in something so vast that one can never ever plumb its depths for all eternity. It also alludes to our interconnectedness to those around us.
To be rooted and grounded in anything less than Christ and His love would mean to live without being filled with the Fullness of God. To ignore deep-seated roots of bitterness means that I corrupt not only myself, but also those with whom I live, work, pray, and play. Astounding and, at the same time, elementary enough for children to understand!
Those verses now took on a whole new meaning as I prayed for my children. They made me think about the state and health of my own root system and that of the church and community in which I live out my faith. Speaking of children, they decided to be baptized this summer. They did it separately, on their own terms, and without any of the pomp and circumstance that I had hoped for. But that’s okay because I’m slowly starting to see what Charlie Mackesy meant when he said, “Isn’t it odd, we can only see our outsides but nearly everything happens on the inside.”
Friends, wherever you’re reading this from, may these words find you rooted and grounded in Jesus and His Love alone. You are deeply known and dearly loved. Many blessings to you!
-Roshni Di Stefano