If you were to line up the world’s top ten worst gardeners along a wall, I’d be among them.
I think I’ve killed every single plant I’ve ever tried to grow, either by forgetting to water it (for some reason, they can’t do that themselves!) or forgetting where I planted the seeds or accidentally planting them where they cook in our Texas heat—like the time I planted succulents in my window box.
I didn’t think anyone could kill a succulent . . . wrong! My window box became like a furnace with the sun beating upon it. The soil cracked and dried like a burnt piece of toast. Not even the poor little desert plants and cacti could survive it.
One by one, they died.
Except for one tiny sprout. Long after all the other succulents had given up and dried up into themselves, this one little sprig was pushing through the soil.
Its roots were growing deep into the soil, unlike the other plants.
When the Sun Beats Down
Life is not always fun. In fact, sometimes life can feel just plain awful. We don’t get to choose what happens in life, how it happens, when it happens, who rejects us, or who breaks up with us.
But one thing we do get to choose is how we react to these things.
We have a choice:
- Allow the bad and difficult things in life to dictate how we feel—to dry us up.
- Allow Jesus to infuse our lives with His joy and peace—to help us grow.
The sun had burned just as hot on that last surviving succulent as it had on all the other plants. The dirt was just as miserably dry and cracked under its roots as under each of the others. But that didn’t stop its growth.
With our hearts planted in Jesus and His Word, we can choose to be like that hardy little succulent.
Trusting Jesus in the Heat of Life
When Jesus lived on earth, there was never an instance in which He allowed the world to dictate how He reacted to situations.
In Matthew 8, Jesus and the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when an unexpected storm came out of nowhere—so big that even the disciples, fishermen accustomed to the moods of the waters, were terrified.
And what was Jesus doing? He was asleep. And when they woke Him up, He wasn’t worried. He peacefully calmed the sea.
Friends, the fact that we can have a personal relationship with the God who calmed the storm with a word should open our eyes to the reality that He knows your storm.
He might not choose to calm it now, or ever, but He has it under His control.
But how do we persevere through the difficulties?
How do we choose the right reaction to hard circumstances—to the harsh sun beating down on us?
Let’s ask ourselves these three questions:
1. Do my roots go deep?
That little succulent couldn’t have survived with shallow roots. It’s impossible to live a life unbroken by the circumstances that surround us without deep faith. He is the only true source of satisfaction for our souls (Ps. 107:9). By reading His Word, spending time with Him in prayer, and serving the people in our lives with His love, we can plant our roots deep in Him.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Ps. 1:1–3).
2. Do I know the truth?
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).
Are we pursuing the Truth in God’s Word—the truth that, as Jesus said, will set us free?
When we memorize Truth (Scripture!), we are reminded of who is in control and of Jesus’ example of living with faith despite the circumstances around us.
3. Am I trying to do this alone?
It’s easy to think that we can grow and thrive in our own strength. But Jesus doesn’t ask us to do life alone. In fact, He wants us to recognize our total dependence upon Him. And He will be with us every step of the way (Matt. 11:28–30).
Has there been a time in your life when you planted your roots deep into Jesus instead of drooping and wilting under the circumstances? Let’s talk in the comments!
From the blog team: Because we want to equip you to plant your faith roots deep in Jesus, we are giving away one copy of Seeking Him by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. To enter, log into the giveaway widget below!