WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS?
What enables people to withstand hardship and adversity? Here’s a clue – what enables trees to withstand strong winds and adversity? A tree’s beauty may be revealed in its branches, but its strength lies in its roots. Trees that are strong in the face of adversity often have a well developed root system and the same is true for people. Solomon identified the reason for the stability of the righteous person was the development of a firmly established root system:
A man will not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved. – Proverbs 12:3
Solomon continued on to point out that a strong root system not only provides stability, but also enables you to be fruitful:
The wicked man desires the booty of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields fruit. – Proverbs 12:12
Jesus expanded on this concept in His parable concerning the four soils as He taught that the the condition of the soil determines the fruitfulness of the seed:
Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. – Mark 4:5-6
Jesus was not describing ground that was covered with rocks, rather He was describing an area of Galilee that was covered with a thin layer of dirt over a shelf of limestone. The seed would quickly come up because of a lack of depth of soil; however, it was too shallow to allow the roots to go deep. Jesus then explained the meaning of the parable to His disciples:
In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. – Mark 4:16-17
The words fall away are from the word from which we derive our English word scandal and it conveys the idea of causing someone to stumble. The reason some people fall away is not because of the affliction, but they fall away because they have no firm root within themselves. How is your root system? The Psalmist provides an illustration of a person with a well developed root system:
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:3
This is a person who is not buffeted by adversity, but is secure in God. As you meditate upon God and His word, then your roots will go deep. When the roots go deep there is no need to fear the storms of life.