Transcend Life’s Storms – Become Deeply Rooted in the Savior


By Greg Grotewold

When we purchased our house, it was clear that work needed to be done on the yard. Most of the shrubbery was long past its prime and no amount of trimming was going to restore any measure of aesthetic quality. The only option was to dig up the plants and pull them.

I set out to do just that, and it was going swimmingly until I came upon the three yews in the front. Though not more than four feet in diameter, they became the bane of my existence for the next three days. Regardless of how much I dug, hacked, or pulled, these evergreen monstrosities wouldn’t budge. Just when I exposed and severed one root, three more twice the size surfaced. Outside of blowing them up with sticks of dynamite, I didn’t know what else to do. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.

After watching me toil to no avail for a good part of the week, my neighbor decided to put me out of my misery. He backed his 4-wheel drive pickup into my driveway and pulled out some heavy-duty chains. Even then, it took a good couple of hours of him tugging on the yews before they finally relinquished their grip and were unearthed.

After a brief celebratory dance, I spent a few minutes examining the bottom of each bush and discovered that their root systems were even more extensive than I had initially thought. No wonder it took the torque of a 6,000-pound vehicle to get the job done. Short of that, the yews weren’t going anywhere. They were anchored and prepared to weather any storm.

I wish I could say the same. I’ve contemplated often the depth of peace associated with being so deeply rooted in Jesus’ omnipotent glory that perfect steadfastness is exhibited. As beautiful as that would be, it’s naïve to think that on this side of Glory – where brokenness is pervasive, particularly my own – a complete anchoring is possible. But on the flip side, it’s foolish to think that on this side of Glory a greater maturity, one where such fastening progresses well past what I have historically experienced, isn’t possible. I know it’s feasible because I’ve begun to enjoy some of that very blessing. And I want more, and Jesus wants me to want more.

Here’s the challenge. For my roots to go deeper, my relationship with the Lord must go deeper. A greater anchoring requires a greater pursuit of the One who secures it. I must move, in other words, closer and closer to Him. This is Jesus speaking, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4,5 ESV).

While the Lord has graciously provided various means by which to abide, the most powerful is prayer and for one simple reason. Its very purpose is to promote such intimacy. What Scripture does for the mind, prayer does for the heart. The former triggers and cultivates wisdom and the latter affection. Nothing grows my adoration for Jesus more than genuine communion with Him. As I make myself vulnerable and pour out my soul, He pours out His grace and mercy. This display of His sweet tenderness is what drives me closer to Him.

Prayer, in other words, allows me to feel what I already know intellectually to be true. It provides the venue from which to encounter more acutely the Jesus of the Bible in all of His glorious manifestations, especially His care. This beautiful union of mind and heart is what produces the abundance of fruit John describes above. Chief amongst the harvest is a Christ-enabled hope, the type that empowers me to not only face the storms of life but transcend them.

There’s an additional blessing of abiding in Jesus. The more I do the more aware I become of when I don’t. Unlike in the past where the first signs of anxiousness would almost assuredly lead to a downward spiral of fear, and thus greater separation from the Lord, the emotion has now become an alert. It tells me a gap is at risk of forming and if I’m to change old patterns and prevent unnecessary worry, a brisk move towards Jesus is imperative. I need to seek His face without delay for a timely reminder of who I am in Him is warranted.

While I don’t yet heed these warnings with the kind of consistency I’d like, the frequency in which I do is on the rise. And for that, I am thankful.

May we abide in Christ and be deeply rooted in His sovereign goodness.


Greg lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, and their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local church and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity.


Free Digital Subscription Sign Up

Free Digital Subscription Sign Up

Share this post with your friends