Trees really fascinate me. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s something about trees that really captures my attention.
My wife and I recently went to a nearby farmhouse bed & breakfast for a short marriage getaway. When we went for a walk together, we passed a huge tree – old, sturdy, green, shady, and compelling to look at (pictured to the right) It was clear this tree had been there a long time, and that it had endured much over the years.
As we look at the tree, we realize there is so much we can’t see. Below the ground is an extensive root system. This massive web of roots provides stability – helping this tree weather the storms of life. These roots also provide nourishment – helping this tree soak up water and nutrients from the ground, enabling it to thrive during all seasons.
When I think about counseling people, I think about how trees grow. It’s a long and slow process. There are no quick fixes in life, and significant change doesn’t happen overnight. Pine trees are some of the fastest growing trees, but they also are some of the first to snap during a storm. I want to help people move towards slow and stable growth that endures.
Much of counseling is about looking below the surface. The leaves and fruit produced by a tree are dependent upon the health of the root system. When we see problems in our lives, we often just try to make changes on the surface. What we really need is change at the root level of the heart. Where are we finding our stability? What are we looking to for nourishment and life? How do we grow and thrive in times of rain and in seasons of drought?
As people who are a lot like trees, God helps us see how our lives are to be rooted:
Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT).
As I journey through
life, I want to see my own roots sink more deeply into God. I want him to be my stability and my source
of life. I want him to be my hope through
the ups and downs, through the droughts and storms. Counseling is not just about trying to ‘fix’
a particular problem in our lives. It’s
about learning to live as people whose roots grow deeply into the enduring love
and faithfulness of God found in Jesus. That's what I want my life to be about.