March calendars tell us spring is on the way in the northern hemisphere, but it seems that winter does not give up its hold easily. The month brings with it nearly every type of weather. High pressure and low-pressure systems race along the undulating jet stream bringing rain, snow, and powerful winds. Occasional glimpses of the sun and a warmer day disappear before we can find our spring jackets.
The weather channel stories have highlighted mudslides, tornadoes, record floods, and snowfalls so far this month of March. Even those who have avoided these events have been exposed to winds uprooting trees and shaking free dead branches and limbs to litter the landscape.
Weather can be like that – ever changing.
Life is like that as well. Things come at us from any and all directions. Sometimes only one thing, but often more than one bombards us at a time. Perhaps the Lord allows us to be shaken as well to get rid of what is no longer life giving and nourishing, reminding us of what is essential.
During a recent storm with winds in excess of 60 MPH, some trees were uprooted with huge root systems pulled out of the ground while others stood in the midst of the onslaught. For those left standing, the wind pruned out the weakest and dead limbs and branches.
Science tells us that most healthy trees can weather brief periods of high wind along with heavy rain from thunderstorms. But if the ground is saturated from too much rain, the root system can lose its grip. A grip can also be lost if a healthy tree is top heavy.
We don’t see the wind. Christina Georgina Rossetti wrote a poem in a children’s anthology of poems that captures that truth:
“Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.”
What happens to us when the winds of life begin to blow?
Much of what might determine that depends on how deep and broad the roots of our faith and relationships grow. Are they well nourished and healthy?
Health comes from consistent nourishment of all the nutrients needed. It doesn’t come from snacking with an occasional good meal tossed in for good measure. It comes from a commitment and discipline to develop and grow our faith and relationships.
We cannot get healthy and develop a strong root system when we notice a storm approaching. It happens long before the storm appears on the horizon. It happens on ordinary days in all kinds of weather as we dig deep into the truth of who the Lord is, what He calls us to be, and Who the foundation of our life i
In a novel I have read recently, one sentence caught my attention:
“You can take the wind as God sends it.”
The author used these words to describe one of the characters whose father died and whose mother was able to show little interest after she remarried. Numerous hardships including a failed marriage, death of child, death of a spouse, and more left her standing, but with a hardened and cold heart. There was no faith despite an acknowledgement she was able to take the wind as it came to her. Her reliance on herself had made her brittle so that wind would one day topple her.
When the winds and storms of life assault us, may we heed Paul’s words in Colossians:
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:7 (NLT)