Tuesday, October 4, 2011


"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted..." (Ephesians 3:16-17)

Tim was reading recently and I was listening pretty well until he got to the rooted word. Then I had a "Squirrel!" moment. What is it about being rooted that suddenly captured my mind and my heart in this familiar passage? I sat and pondered...

  • Roots reach down into the soil, obtaining what is needed for growth. They are often invisible beneath the surface and decidedly un-flashy, but roots provide for a healthy, happy plant.
  • Roots hold tight to the soil, providing stability. When well rooted, even very tall, very heavy trees can stand firm through powerful storms.
  • And roots establish a place. With firm roots, a plant has a home, its own little place in the world. It stays relationally connected to others while remaining its own distinct self.

Yeah, that was it -- nurture, stability, and space. I smiled. It was a contented moment.

Then I realized that Tim had stopped reading by this time and conversation had begun around me. I hadn't heard much beyond rooted and it seemed like maybe I should, so I returned to the passage and tried to catch up...

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love..."

I stopped again at these glorious words. Established, grounded, built on a foundation -- of what? Of love, affection, good will. I smiled again, envisioning my feet planted firmly in this kind of soil, recognizing the nurture and stability and sense of place.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints..."

Power? This is not the squishy-soft, cheap love-substitutes so often portrayed in modern American culture. This is seriously joyful, thoroughly relational, wonderfully committed, genuine, life-changing love.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge..."

I tend to think of power in terms of climbing mountains and battling enemies and stuff like that, but Paul's words steered my thoughts differently. Power to comprehend love? Again, this is clearly a different kind of love, and so much more thorough.

"-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

It is easy enough to talk about God's love, but to really grasp it -- to recognize and respond beyond the intellectual level, to trust and rest in it, to allow myself to be transformed in the process -- that is a lot more challenging. I read a description of God recently as the One who looks fully into our lives, every little nook and cranny, and does not look away. There is something beautiful in this picture, and difficult, too.

Whatever is inside of us, God is completely willing and able to recognize both the wonderful parts and the ugly bits, and to fully engage. Submitting to such honest examination takes a lot of guts -- a lot of power. This power comes from being rooted in love, trusting God's grace to fill us so thoroughly with His good character, bringing light to the dark corners.

I never did catch up to the conversation around me that day. But God captured my heart, and rooted me more strongly again in His love, and I am grateful.

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