There it was… again. We have a “shrub” in our garden. The first several years after it appeared we let it be. It was healthy, it was interesting, but most importantly, it took up space in a barren spot in my hillside flower garden.
About two years ago, I noticed that a certain bug loved it. I mean LOVED it. The whole shrub, which was about six feet tall at that point, was covered in larvae. Gross! The plant had to come out!
Ron cut it down and we thought that was the end of it. Wrong. The next year it was back. Worse, I noticed little “shrubettes” sprouting all along the hillside. Pulling on a few, I discovered that all the shrubettes were linked via an extensive root system. This time after Ron cut down the mother plant, he hacked at the stump and poured gasoline on it.
That was several weeks ago. I noticed this evening that the mother had a brand-new cluster of sprouts growing out the side of the gasoline-drenched stump.
I decided to take matters into my own hands. Grabbing a shovel, I started digging. The mother plant started loosening. I thought to myself: This will be easy! Wrong again.
The mother plant was like a squid, with at least 10 thick root runners coming off it in all directions. I started with the first root and pulled. And pulled. Up it came, running about six feet in one direction before doubling back toward the mother plant.
On I continued with the other root runners, showering myself with dirt in the process. Some doubled back, while others continued along the flower bed, splitting into more and more runners.
That’s when I heard the quiet voice of God speaking to me regarding a personal struggle I’ve been experiencing: “Weeds need to be pulled up by the root. You need to pull up your issues by the roots. You’ve only been pulling up what’s above the surface and not dealing with the source.”
“Okay, Lord, how?”
I pulled more roots. “The Gardener needs to pull the roots.”
“Great, Lord! If You’re the Gardener and want to pull my weeds, go for it! It’s hard work, and I sure don’t want to do it. What’s the problem?”
After pulling up about eight of the roots, and disturbing and even uprooting plenty of flowers in the process, I was literally pouring sweat. God revealed, “Your roots go very deep. They run through every part of your life. The problem is not that the work is hard for Me; the problem is you don’t want to go through the work of having your roots ripped out because it will cause upheaval in some areas and result in pain.”
“Okay, Lord, I understand that the process is painful. How do I let You rip this stuff out? How do I do that?”
I went back and started tugging on the stump. It was still connected by two large runners. After more pulling, grunting, digging, and sweating, I decided to just chop off the last two roots and call it an evening. I had been at this for over an hour and I was tired and sore and needed a shower. I left the twisted mass of squid-like roots in the driveway so Ron could admire my work and effort when he came home.
As I was putting the tools away, God said, “There’s your trouble. You let me work in your life up to a certain point. Then you say to Me, ‘That’s good enough. I’m too tired and sore right now to finish the job. These last two roots won’t hurt anything. I’ll deal with them later.’ And you allow the last roots to grow and spread through your life again. You have not experienced victory in this area because you hold on to a remnant of root. You need to let Me remove it — ALL of it.”
Way easier said than done. I actually wrote the preceding message four years ago and I have to admit that like most weeds, this personal issue continues to come back in an attempt to overrun what’s beautiful in my life. Anyone else out there hacking at killer roots?