On our drive through eastern Washington and eastern Oregon, we often see tumbleweeds plastered up against a fence and occasionally “tumbling” across the road in front of us. A tumbleweed is the ball-shaped structural part of the above ground anatomy of a number of species of plants. Once it is mature and dry, it detaches from its root or stem and rolls with the wind until it lodges up against a fence or building. They remind me of the importance of being firmly rooted in order to “hold your ground” against the winds of adversity and false teaching and all the current craziness of “woke, “cancel culture,” transgenderism, LGBTQ, etc., sweeping across our country today. People have definitely lost their spiritual and moral moorings or roots and are like tumbleweeds pushed around by the winds of humanistic philosophies.
Scripture emphasizes the importance of being deeply rooted in our faith and in contact with the source of “Living Water.” The Apostle Paul warns us: “See to it that no ones takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col. 2: 8). In the previous verses He wrote: “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith…” (vv. 6,7). To the church at Ephesus, Paul encourages the believers to grow in their faith so that, as a result, they not be “tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:12-14).
If ever we needed to be well-grounded in our faith, it is in this present age of moral, political and spiritual dyslexia when good is called evil and evil is called good (Isa. 5:20) and Christians are being pressured to compromise their convictions in order to succeed, whether in academia, business, athletics, or pretty much any activity in which they are involved. Our Christian support groups like ACLJ and ADF are swamped with cases, trying to help Christians fight for their rights, whether as a student in public institutions of learning, a baker, a photographer, a florist, etc.. How rapidly and drastically our nation has changed. During this time of the heat of adversity, it is crucial to have our roots firmly planted and not be as the tumbleweed. The Psalmist wrote: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in the season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatsoever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff (like tumbleweeds!) which the wind drives away” (Psa. 1:1-4a). Note that the blessed man is one who delights in and meditates upon the Law (the Scriptures).
God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah were very similar: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD, for He will be like a bush in the desert (a tumbleweed!)…Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD, for he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream, and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit’” (Jer. 17:5-8).
So, in such a time as this, with all the craziness going on around us, we need to be firmly rooted in our faith by consistently being in the Word, delighting in it and meditating upon it. We also need to be trusting in our unchangeable, omnipotent God and not in man and his ungodly philosophies and policies. As Solomon exhorts: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Pr. 3:5,6). And, of course, keep your armor on daily (Eph. 6:10-18) and be in constant communication with your Father through Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit(I Thes. 5:17).
Be a “tree firmly planted,” not a tumbleweed! Tumbleweeds and trees both have roots. Tumbleweeds, however, don’t stay connected to their life-source, causing them to dry out and die. Trees, on the other hand, remain connected to their roots, enabling them to flourish and thrive, anchored to that which will sustains them in times of difficulty. When we hold fast to God, drawing strength and encouragement from the wisdom found in His Word and talking to Him in prayer, we too can experience the life-giving, life-sustaining nourishment He provides.