These last several weeks the skies have been steely gray and mostly rainy, which feels very out of character for Central California where I live. We’ve had unprecedented rain throughout the state since January. In fact, we’ve had so much rain that we’ve already more than doubled the amount of rain for a normal year.
Let’s be clear: we desperately need rain.
California has been in a drought for years, but this unprecedented rain is also wreaking havoc on the Golden State. Flooding has gutted roads, bridges, and neighborhoods. There aren’t good systems in place to hold the water. Houses, power lines, and cars have been damaged because of large trees falling. A tree recently took out the stoplight at one of the main intersections near my house. Meanwhile, snow abounds in the mountains, which looks beautiful from my balcony but also compounds the flooding problems here in the valley.
On the trails where I run, I daily see the ramifications of these storms and floods. Our beautiful, tree-lined paths are water-logged and washed out in parts. Mud and puddles last for days. Many of the trees are leaning dangerously to one side in the marshy ground.
When I was out on a run a few weeks ago, I passed a tree that made me stop in my tracks. I called out to my friend who was with me to wait, and then ran back to examine it. The tree was completely toppled, but strangely there was no evidence of roots. I investigated and there was no stump nearby either.
I looked at my friend and said, “That’ll preach.”
Is it any surprise that a tree without roots would be among the first to fall when a storm comes?
That tree was preaching a sermon to me about the importance of being rooted.
What I have learned about roots is they are vital to the tree. The roots allow nutrients from water to enter the tree and be transported to the branches and leaves. Tree roots also take nutrients and chemicals from the soil and use them to produce what a tree needs for growth, development, and repair. Tree roots anchor a tree in the soil, keeping it straight and stable.
This is why a tree without roots couldn’t withstand the rainstorm.
The roots of a tree grow underground. They are not seen by those above ground. We might compare this to our private life with Christ. If we want strong spiritual roots, we need to grow a personal relationship with God. We strengthen our roots when we pray, read our Bibles, and worship in various forms. The important growth and connection happens when no one else is watching.
In his letter to the church at Colossae, the apostle Paul talks about the importance of staying rooted in Christ:
“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.”
In the Colossian church, there was a problem with dangerous false teachings creeping in. Paul provides both warnings and teachings through his letter, encouraging the people to find their identity in Christ and follow Him.
As I kept running along the trail, I spotted another fallen tree. This tree had obvious roots protruding from her trunk. She was fully laying down on the ground — uprooted by the storm — but she also had tiny pink blooms all over her branches.
That’s right, she was knocked down by the storm, but she was still blooming. Let that thought root in your heart. She had been uprooted, but there was still evidence of life on this tree.
I do believe it’s possible for someone to bloom even when they are knocked down, even when they are navigating intense trials, even when they are grieving.
These two trees taught me one important truth: storms reveal our roots.
We may think a tree looks strong and sturdy from above ground, but the rains, wind, and storms of life will reveal its true root system.
This motivates me in my daily choices and soul practices to carve out that time to read and study the Bible, listen to worship music in the car with my kids, go on prayer runs, or connect regularly with friends who keep me accountable in my faith walk. These little things matter. It’s not about checking boxes or striving to do things perfectly. Every little bit of time we humbly offer to Jesus allows us to grow.
Friend, let’s remember the call to stay rooted in Christ. Once the storm comes, it’s too late to begin. The goal is to remain rooted in His love and abide in His presence so we can stand strong through all kinds of weather.
Dorina has a new children’s book, Chasing God’s Glory, that leads kids of all ages to discover God and His glory on life’s trails. Find details about the new book and Dorina’s other offerings here!
Ruth Mills says
A common phrase in my prayers is for our faith roots to grow fat & deep. The first time I prayed those words in our small group, the whispered amens was a loud chorus. We long for deep roots yet do we put in the time & work for them to develop in us? As you so beautifully write they need to be developed before the storms hit. May we actively tend our roots in Him & not settle for the latest get healthy quick scheme the world has to offer. Blessings!
I love that image of fat and deep roots! Thank you for sharing that prayer. I’m adding it to mine!
Jill D. says
This is a beautiful post, Dorina. One worth coming back to.
Appreciate that encouragement and knowing it resonated with you!
Loved this, thank you!!
Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young says
I’m so glad it resonated with you!
Dorina, I love it when you write about Central California. It was my home for so many years and your words take me right back! I love today’s devotional. My word this year is “rooted” and it really spoke to me on a personal level. So, thank you.
I love how God makes a message personal for each one of us! My stories are rooted in place. I’m glad you can connect with this one!
karyn j says
i love this and you’re right! that tree is a whole preacher and a whole sermon! i need to be rooted so the storms of life don’t take me out.
Yes, indeed! Love how Creation preaches and sings of His glory!
d from Canada says
Thank you Dorina for this not-only-important but ESSENTIAL reminder!
Yesss! Preaching to myself here!
Amen! My family and I have been going through a very hard stormy valley! It’s like everything hits at once and keeps piling on. Would you please pray for us? (Linda, AmaTHa, Jimmy, Dean)
Kathy Francescon says
I will pray for strong roots in God over you and your family, Amanda. May God bless you with all Son-Shine in the stormy valley you are walking through. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Janet W says
Thank you Dorina. \0/
Karen M Purkey says
Thank you Dorina for your post today.
It reminds me that the more I come into
the presence of Jesus, the more I read and
memorize the scriptures, the more conversation I
share with my Lord, the deeper my roots below
the storms of life will prevail. I may be buffeted
by disappointments, feelings of loneliness,
chronic illness, etc., the roots that I put
down with Jesus will ultimately hold.
And even when I feel that I have been
completely shattered at times, there will
still be a “little pink blossom” blooming in my
Blessings and love to all of you, dear sisters
Amen! I love the way you articulated that!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Dorina well spoken about we need to be well rooted before the storm come. I live in part of the world we don’t get storms like you do in your part of the world. Yes we can get tress down. High winds but no were near as were you live in your part of the world. But I am thankful on to God for that. I do pray for people like you have storm that are so bad in parts of the world that even destroy their homes and businesses and roads and bridges etc. I ask God to make them see if not saved how important it is to be saved. Be with those in theses time let them know you Lord are close to them. Especially people who have lost loved ones in theses storms. Especially if not saved to see how important it is to be saved. As no one knows from the minute we get up to we go bed at night if we will see another day in Gods beautiful world. That why it is so important to be saved. I thank God for every day we are alive in his beautiful world. I pray for those who have survived that they will see how and be thankful they are alive. In times like this and time we go through hard times. We need to rooted and grounded in the word of God. Before the storm comes. So as when we face the storms. No matter what they are should they be a weather blizzard or suitation in our lives that has happened. We can stand on the word of God to help us through it. Know God will do what that word of his says and prayer. Trust God is going to hear our prayers and do what the verses we stand on say. To help us through our storms. No matter what they are should they be a weather blizzard or suitation in our lives. I say Amen to that. As we have mighty God were he here our prayers and is there for us. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little Love today’s reading xx
Thank you always for your encouragement, Dawn!
Good morning! I agree storms “reveal our roots”. Being uprooted in a storm is the only way to reveal our deep good/bad roots to the light known as ‘suffering for Christ’. We personally get to see ourselves and witness the Holy Spirit’ redemptive grafting into Christ. It seems we have little to no roots/supports left from the storm but we learn to eternally hang onto Christ as he restores all your supports to himself. He does it for our good. Romans chapter 11 is fascinating read. This is a very necessary article. God bless you.
I love what you added here too!
Really appreciated the reminder that the root growth happens underground. And that storms reveal our roots.
Yes, Pearl! I have to remind myself of the importance of that private time with God to stay rooted!
Kimmie G says
This message seems very important today. I’ve kind of felt disconnected and freefalling lately.
Beth Williams says
We need to be anchored & rooted in Christ. Simply attending church on Sunday mornings isn’t enough. Everyone needs personal time with God. Take time to pray, listen to worship music, etc. For me I do the above but also watch Steven Furtick (TV preacher from Elevation). His sermons provide much needed nutrients to help me stay rooted. Great analogy.