Daily Devotions

Deep Roots

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“So he built an altar there, called on the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.” (Genesis 26:25)

 

Yesterday, I talked about all the moving I’ve done in my life and how we are called to trust God amidst life’s transitions. Today’s Scripture, Genesis 26:25, describes God’s telling Isaac to “pitch his tent,” “dig a well” and set down roots.

 

Life requires roots. We had a neighbor when lived in Wisconsin who had a tall pine in his yard. One night there was a terrible storm with wicked winds. When they looked out their window the next morning, one of their huge pines had toppled. When it came down, the tree’s entire root system pulled up with it. A pine trees’ root system spreads horizontally, just below the surface, which makes it vulnerable in high winds.

 

When we live shallow lives, it is easy for our world to topple over. Everyone needs some type of root system in order to be strong. While I moved a great deal in my life, I believe my roots run deep, because of the blessings in my faith and its nurture through the many churches and its people. God and church families can be the best root system. No matter where I have lived, loving and supportive churches have strengthened my faith and nurtured my life. I hope and pray you’ve had similar experiences.

 

Today, think about the root system in your life. Consider the roots you’ve developed and the roots you helped others nurture. Ask God to respond to you like the Divine One did with Isaac. Pitch your tent and dig your well. Pray about what that means for your life. It should mean committing to your local church, your community, and its people. For example, it may include volunteering at a homeless shelter or a school. It means embracing the church where you attend, and make it a lifelong commitment. It means accepting your place in this world and making the most of it. With deep roots, you can do great things in God’s name.

A Vagabond's Blessing

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“Isaac moved from there and dug another well, and herders of Gerar did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, ‘Now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’” (Genesis 26:22)

 

Through the age of thirteen, we were a military family. Then we lived with my grandmother for two years, and then moved where my mother accepted a teaching position. Between kindergarten and tenth grade I went to twelve schools. I went to college in Moorhead, Minnesota, then I went to seminary in Chicago and served different churches each year, including a year-long internship in Florida, between my second and third year of seminary. This is also the fourth church I’ve served since ordination. In many ways, my life has felt like a vagabond’s.

 

At times I’ve felt envious of those people who’ve spent their entire lives in one place, and have those life-long relationships. Yet, at other times I’ve appreciated my upbringing. I’ve learned to be adaptive, independent and driven. Without those qualities, the regular moves and re-starts would have been too overwhelming. The Biblical figure, Isaac, knew what it meant to be adaptive, independent, and driven. He was unwanted wherever he went. But he didn’t give up, was open to opportunities, and trusted God to provide.

 

Today, take some time and think back on your own transitional experiences. In what ways were you adaptive in order to improve your situation? How did your independence and transition to interdependence strengthen your ability to work well with others? Finally, how did your faith guide you through challenging situations? As you look back and view your life from a distance, you will see God at work in your life. God didn’t just work through a Biblical person like Isaac, but with all people, including you and me. Continue to seek God, so that in the most vulnerable moments in life, you will have the ability to thrive, no matter your situation.

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