Tree roots

“Cursed is the strong one
who depends on mere humans,
Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone
and sets God aside as dead weight.
He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie,
out of touch with the good earth.
He lives rootless and aimless
in a land where nothing grows.
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season.
Jeremiah 17: 5-8 (The Message)

How do you cope during a season of spiritual drought?


Last week I wrote about how I was frustrated about my relationship with God.


Sometimes it’s tempting to give up on God, to turn to the more tangible things for comfort and support: friends, money, your nice house. These are the solid things, the things you can reach out and touch and depend on. God is Spirit and ethereal and sometimes hard to understand.


But the Bible is backwards. Those things that look strong are nothing but tumbleweed; those paychecks, that approval from others, those advocates in high places that you have, they’re chaff. They’re blown away by the next wind, and it will happen so fast and so easily you won’t even know it when it does.


God turns our perception around. Those supposed solid and strong things are actually wispy and insignificant. True strength is not found in standing alone but clinging like a toddler onto God who isn’t always easy to see or feel, trusting through comfort and trusting through desperation.


Sometimes spiritual maturity is not about the fruit and the flowers. It’s about the roots: digging down, deep, into the dirt, into the silent and unseen, searching for water amidst the muck and worms.


This was my best five minutes on ‘Roots’. Also linking with

Beholding Glory


Over to you:

  • What are you most like at the moment- tumbleweed or a tree with roots by a river?


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34 Responses to Roots

  1. Emma 4th November, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    I love this translation. So often I feel like a tumbleweed, but I’m connected to Jesus and the roots hold firm. You’re right – what’s most precious is often unseen and even dark. Thanks Tanya x

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      I love that bit in John about being grafted onto the vine, safe in jesus. Sometimes it’s about remembering to trust in that. Praying this for us both at the moment… Much love xx

  2. Nikki 3rd November, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    “Sometimes spiritual maturity is not about the fruit and the flowers, it’s about the roots.” ….. YES!

    Love how you still strive to see Him even through the drought, friend. Hugs to you!

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      Thank you for cheering me on, friend! Much love xx

  3. Jamie 3rd November, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Hey Tanya,
    I recently wrote about a time in my past when I could not hear God’s voice and the lessons I learned. I hope it will speak to you and bring you some encouragement:
    There is a part one and two.

    And this:
    I hope these are of some encouragement!
    For now, I understand how you cling to Psalm 42, and I will be praying and thinking of you. It is difficult not to hear the Father’s voice but to trust Him just the same!

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks Jamie – it was great to read your posts on this topic – I really appreciate it!

  4. Esther Emery 2nd November, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Thanks for this, Tanya. Praying for the faith that this world is only a thin slice of God’s reality, and the really good stuff is above and below, in the roots.

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      ‘the really good stuff is above’ – Yes! I need to remember this too – so many times…
      Thank you.

  5. Jenn LeBow 2nd November, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Tanya, my friend, your resilience and strength of character come through your writings so clearly. Thank you for staying rooted in Christ and sharing your strengths and weaknesses with us. Your blog is always a treat to read.

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Sweet Jenn – thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to encourage me. 🙂

  6. Alia Joy 2nd November, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Tanya, I am so sorry for your pain and the struggles you face. I know that in my struggles with depression I often feel like I need to dig myself out or stand firm but you’re so right. Clinging, helpless is the way to go. Casting our burdens and knowing He is strong enough and His grace is sufficient, His power made perfect in our broken ugly. Love your heart and ministry in sharing the things you are going through so openly.

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      Thank you so much, Alia – the last few posts have felt a bit more vulnerable than usual, it’s helpful to have the encouragement. I see such strength and beauty in your words when you write of your struggle; it is an encouragement to me to do the same. Thank you.

  7. Sipech 2nd November, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    I expressed this recently in a letter (an edited version of which I’ll be putting online) explaining reasons why I recently left my church. One of the images drawn upon was that of the Holy Spirit as water, which ties in to your tree/tumbleweed image. I’ve known a lot of ‘mangrove christians’ in pentecostal churches, though I would describe myself more as a ‘cactus christian’ – some may be overwatered, others risk drying out if they’re not permanently immersed.

    When I’m having difficulty, as I did during a bout of depression last month, I know my tendency can be to especially prickly and to snap at people; so the best thing to do is to isolate myself and take refuge in books. Not all people are like that and it’s frequently misunderstood as being aloof or cold, when in truth such isolationism is done so that I won’t hurt others around me.

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Cactus Christian – I like it! I think it’s really great that you know yourself so well and are so aware of what you need – that sounds really healthy to me. 🙂


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