This is the time of year when the careful gardener is painfully aware of root systems in the garden; especially when they are insufficient.
Rainfall has been almost nonexistent for the past several weeks, and many of the newer trees and shrubs are showing signs of stress. The brilliant colors that herald autumn are muted even in the more established trees, because of insufficient water.
Oh, we took some risks, anyway. Redbud, holly, ninebark, hydrangea, and even a curly willow were planted this season. They require daily watering in the drought conditions, especially the holly.
It was given to us from someone whose neighbor had dug it up that morning to make room for something else. The roots were bare, and were drying out quickly. I’m actually more concerned about this tree than the water-loving curly willow.
You see, the willow was potted up from a rooting branch early in the springtime, and when we pulled it out of the little pool in the shade, the roots had grown below the pot and extended a foot outward. Another mass of tangled roots filled the pot, which had to be cut away to plant the little tree.
Now that it has been in the ground for a couple weeks, it is surely firmly rooted by now in the soil behind the aging peach tree, which it will replace. Before you know it, I’ll be untangling the branches as it grows, so it won’t twist around itself as it knits its own twigs and branches together.
The parent plant did not get maintained early enough to prevent a few limbs from forming a spiral effect, growing the bark together so that they were then inseparable.
Maybe that’s what God wanted for His church.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
“That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,
“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
“I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
“For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
“Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:1-7, NASB).
When we are firmly rooted in our faith in Christ, and then knit together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our survival is not only assured, but so is our growth.
The holly was planted the same day we received it, because it wasn’t rooted in anything at all. We need to help one another put down roots if necessary, and then to become established in that faith, just as my trees will become so much a part of the landscape that they will not be able to be moved.
Then we must knit ourselves together, just as plants knit together to provide a stronger branch. Even my dead moon vines are tough to pull out when they’ve grown into each other for support.
Get rooted, become established, and knit together. It’s a recipe for growth!