But what I love the most about it is its proportions. The top presents a fine, full, and balanced profile. The trunk is large and fully formed as well. I doubt if the enjoined arms of two people could encircle it.
And yet, these attributes pale in comparison to its most impressive feature: its roots. These are simply massive, protruding well above the ground as they encircle the trunk like a large suction cup holding it securely in its place.
As I have reflected on the physical qualities of this majestic old tree, I have been reminded that it was once just a tiny sprig. No doubt it was top heavy with three or four leaves at the time as it first sprang forth and stretched ever skyward. At this point, while laden with potential, it still had a long way to go before it ever reached its present glory.
Years later, after it had grown taller, its trunk likely began to expand outward as well as upward. As a result, on the outside, a nice, full, rounded appearance was produced. While on the inside, a significant number of rings accumulated down through the years testifies both to its struggles and its victories.
And yet, the tell-tale sign of its successes down through the years, decades, and perhaps even centuries afterwards, has to do with its root system. For just as this tree has grown upward and outward over the process of time, so has it also grown deep. In short, the sheer size of its roots testifies to how strong they now are.
Thus, while the trunk and the branches above may fear many things, such as wind and pestilence, the one thing they do not likely have to fear is ever being uprooted. For the roots of this tree clearly run vast and deep!
For my part, I well remember the time in my life when I was young. At that time, I too was small, but blessed with potential. Later, there came a time when I had grown upward and outward, as it were. Like many, I enjoyed my fulness and displayed it pride.
But these days, I have come to see that my strength lies mostly in my roots. My forebears imbued me with a strong foundation upon which to build my life, including an abiding faith in God. And it was clearly for this reason that I was allowed to grow and flourish.
The Prophet Jeremiah once compared the faithful people of God to a tree “planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Given all this, I have also now come to see my responsibility more clearly than ever. I am to provide that same strong foundation for others. I can only hope that the trunk and the limbs and the branches that have all issued forth from me and are now climbing ever upward will find in me a root system that is strong and secure and dependable.
If so, not only will they have benefitted, but God too will have been glorified. And in the end, that will be enough for me!
Notice the parallels here to the very first Psalm: