As our world becomes more and more unstable, our only hope for peace and security comes from letting our roots grow deep down into Jesus. today’s episode describes what that looks like. Listen in.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like our world is getting more and more unhinged as the days and months go by. I lived through the ‘60s and early ’70s during the Vietnam War, a really unstable time in our history. This era saw the assassination of a US president, the slaying of a presidential candidate, and the murder of the greatest civil rights leader of our time. And to top it off, the leader of the free world was forced out of office because of a scandal he created. Pretty rocky times.

There followed a period of relative peace, but ever since the current decade started in 2020, things are becoming more and more unstable and are reminding me of those tumultuous years I lived through earlier in my life. And I don’t like it. I bet you don’t either.

How then are we to cope and live well during times like this? Today’s episode tries to answer this question.

I’ll begin with a story.

Bulbs that bloom in the spring

Earlier this spring, our daughter sent me some paperwhite narcissus bulbs for my birthday. To grow them you place the bulbs in a shallow bowl of pebbles, propping them up as best you can with small stones, and then add water to the bowl. The roots on the bottom of the bulbs will draw from the water to grow. It’s that simple. When they are fully grown their tall spindly branches bloom fragile fragrant white blossoms. They’re beautiful.

I’ve grown paperwhites before so I knew what to do, but when I placed these particular bulbs in among the pebbles they were all wobbly and it took some effort to get them situated upright. When they looked as best as I could get them, I added water, set the planter aside, and forgot about them.

The wobbly state of the bulbs reminded me of that famous quote from Margaret Thatcher. It was August of 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and President George H. W. Bush, was considering how the US should respond.

Wisdom from the Margret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady”

The former British Prime minister advised President Bush with this famous line,

“Remember George, this is no time to go wobbly.”

Back to my story about the paperwhites.

A few days later after adding water to the bowl of bulbs I went to check on them. I thought I might have to straighten them upright again. To my surprise, the bulbs had stabilized themselves and were perfectly straight. I tried to gently move one of them, but it was firmly positioned on top of the stones. It wouldn’t budge. I don’t know why I would have expected anything different because I’ve grown this type of bulb before.

If you’re not familiar with paperwhites you might wonder, how did they stabilize themselves? The answer is found in the roots. Once water was added to the bowl, just enough to cover the bottom of the bulbs, the tiny roots took over. They begin to seek out the water in the crevices between the pebbles in the bowl, and in doing so, the roots grow longer and longer. They wind themselves around the stones and go deeper into the water, all of which secures the bulb on top of the pebbles.

What was once wobbly becomes firm, stable, and sure. And the plant begins to grow straight and tall, becoming what it was designed to be. All because of the roots.

And just as the original wobbly nature of the bulbs when I first placed them in the bowl of pebbles reminded me of that Margaret Thatcher, “this is no time to go wobbly” quote, the roots reminded me of another quote. It’s from the Bible in the Book of Colossians, chapter 4:

God’s answer to our problem

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Now that the paperwhites are growing, I look at them frequently. No blossoms yet as of this recording. But they will come. I’m actually more intrigued at the moment by the roots and the work they are doing to make the plants grow. They so remind me of what the Bible says about letting our own roots grow down into Jesus.

The roots of the paperwhites are largely unseen. They have to wind themselves around the significant obstacles of stones to find that which keeps them alive – water. So it is with our relationship with Jesus. The roots of our individual faith are not obvious to others. They are the internal beliefs, convictions, and values we hold that manifest themself in the face of formidable forces impacting our life.

How it works

If we let the roots of our faith in Jesus grow down deep into him they will give us life and keep us stable in our increasingly unstable world. When the culture cancels us, when we lose our job, when we get a cancer diagnosis, our roots will keep us upright and stable.

When our church marginalizes us, when our spouse betrays us, our roots in Jesus, our deep roots, will keep us alive and even grow us.

A stock market decline and our kids getting in trouble will not upend us if we’ve let our roots go down deep into Jesus. When we see the atrocities of the war in Ukraine on our screens day after day, our roots in Jesus will guide us in responding to this evil.

When our car breaks down and we have no money to fix it our roots of faith and trust in Jesus will not send us off the edge.

As the unintended consequences of public policy related to Covid begin to rise to the surface, our roots sunk down into Jesus will help us respond to the fractures in our culture that are separating us from each other in destructive ways.

So what does all this mean for YOU?

There’s certainly a lot to be wobbly about with all that’s going on in our world. Are you coping the best you can with your own resources? Or are you sinking your roots down into Jesus to depend upon Him for the peace, and stability we all desire?

When all manner of obstacles to our peace comes against us, it’s not the time to go wobbly.

Pay attention to our roots in Jesus. Trust them. Draw strength and wisdom from them. Nurture their deepening growth.

Here’s the main takeaway I hope you remember from today’s episode

It’s from Colossians 4:6-7, which I will quote again here

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Let me know what you think about all this. I’d love to hear from you.


In closing, I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to think about how you can let your roots go down into Jesus. Doing this will draw you closer to God. It’s what you were made for. You were made for this!

And while you’re doing this, spread a little relational sunshine around this week. It will spark joy in you and the people you meet.

That’s it for today. I’ll see you again soon next time.

Related episodes you may want to listen to

139: Why Should I Listen to This Podcast?

111: How to Find Rest in Difficult Circumstances

058: How a Crisis Can Bring Out the Best in Us

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