Deep Roots Will Withstand the Storm by SustainableTraditions.com

Are we rooted in the love of GOD and in His provisions of community and Creation?

“I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:14-19 (The Message translation)

Our hearts and prayers go out to the many communities who have been recently devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Here near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia we experienced the outer winds from the hurricane but it was nothing like directly being in it’s path. Similar to the derecho storm that suddenly hit our area months back, although not quite as intense, the high winds here wailed for a couple days and nights. The trees thrashed as the wind howled like a freight train cut loose from it’s tracks. Monday evening we lost power around 9:30 and the electricity didn’t come back on until later the next day. Several trees had broken power lines at different places down the road. I was once again reminded that our modern lifestyle is always truly hanging by a thread.

As my oldest son and I lugged empty buckets in a wagon up into the pasture to the hand pump on the well casing, the wind continued to blow. We were bundled up in our winter gear. The temperature had dropped dramatically. Winter was making an early and rude appearance as Autumn seemed to slip away. Even the falling leaves were giving way to snow flurries and the wind swept mountains were dusted with white. We rolled the heavy wagon down the hill with water sloshing out of the buckets. Suddenly I no longer took indoor plumbing for granted. The absence of electricity had sent us reeling back into the 1800’s.

We delivered water to one of the households in our community and carted the rest back to our cabin. For the second time since the last big storm I was thankful for the new hand pump on the well. Every home with a well should have one, in my opinion. Phones still worked so I called our neighbor who is a widow. She has a handicapped grandson who she cares for. She was near to firing up her generator so they could have power for their well pump.

We used up our water fairly quickly throughout the morning. I wondered how long we’d be without power and continued to marinate in my dreams of off-grid community living. Maybe someday, but for now we had what we needed.

This short experience reinforced to me again something the LORD planted in my heart when the derecho slammed our region. In the coming days I believe we will be entering a season of great shaking- not apocalyptic, but ‘birth pangs’ none the less (as Jesus called them). I don’t believe it’s the end of the world but it will be a rude awakening from our comfortable American middle-class lives where everything is handed to us shrink-wrapped and pre-packaged on a silver platter. This long illusion of the world at our finger tips has lulled us into a kind of sleep. We’ve forgotten how to meet our own basic needs – things that were common knowledge only a couple generations ago when our communities still maintained agrarian roots. These roots were our intentional and dependent connections to the land and one another.

In the coming days I believe we will be challenged with many kinds of upheaval – economic, cultural, environmental, agricultural, political, etc, etc – a perfect storm of sorts – a converging crisis that is really rooted in our own hearts. And I believe many of us will be tempted to doubt the love and sovereignty of GOD. As circumstances grow increasingly volatile we must choose to trust in the love of GOD or walk away from Him in a cloud of rejection and anger. Our true theology will be put to the test. What you say you believe about GOD and what you actually believe will be sharpened in clear contrast. Are our hearts truly rooted in the love of GOD? I have personally struggled with this recently and I honestly wish I could say my heart was more rooted and grounded in GOD’s love.

My prayer is that we would become people who’s roots go deep – in the love and knowledge of GOD and in the abundance of community and GOD’s Creation. Will we trust GOD even when times are tough? Will we bless GOD in the sunlight…and in the storm? Or will we be like the huge old trees with shallow roots who were taken out by the storm? I hope for days of peace but I have greater hope in seeing a people rise up who are set like anchors and shining beacons amidst the whirlwind. If we are willing GOD will use us to establish ‘villages’ and ‘cities’ of refuge not just for our own families but for many in need of shelter.

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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