Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: Good Roots
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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“What’s wrong?” I asked, while at least five scenarios played simultaneously in my head. Yet it was hard to imagine what kind of trouble could assail my focused, dependable, responsible, and happily married engineer son.
“She’s gone. She said she didn’t want to go away with me. But it’s our anniversary! She says she doesn’t even want to be married any more. I planned a dream weekend…the Mustang convertible, her dream car that I rented, is still in the driveway. But she’s gone...and she never looks back.” Those final words sent a chill down my spine. Still I took a deep breath and as calmly as possible asked my son to slow down and start from the beginning. No matter how many questions I asked, or how many details he repeated, nothing made sense.
Shaunda’s sudden departure after just two years of marriage was a huge shock to Travis, who was totally enraptured with his young wife and with married life. She had seemed happy, too, calling me often just to talk, and always telling me how wonderful Travis was to her. In short, she was everything I could have hoped for in a daughter-in-law. She and Travis had become very active in the young couple’s group at their church. Several young women from that group tried in vain over the next months to reach out to her.
Travis was devastated, and plunged immediately into depression. I spent a week with him. When the time came for me to return to my home a thousand miles away I was assured by Clyde, a believing neighbor across the street, that he would keep a close watch on my son. He and his wife also introduced me to a friend of theirs, a man who had struggled with depression himself, and yet was a strong believer. He would soon become one of Travis’ encouragers and constant companions.
Travis and I continued to stay in close contact by phone and e-mail. On difficult days I would call and ask one of his friends to check in on him. One couple from his church invited him to sleep in their spare bedroom whenever he didn’t feel like being alone. But even as Travis struggled he clung to Jesus, drawing his strength from the Holy Spirit, and encouraging others with his unfaltering faith.
One weekend I became worried after trying several times, unsuccessfully, to reach Travis by phone. Finally, I called his neighbor, who assured me that everything was okay. Travis had merely been invited on a weekend retreat. Then Clyde continued. “Your son has some good roots!” he exclaimed in his endearing southern accent, “The storms have been poundin’ on him for many months now, but he’s still standin’. Praise God, he’s still standin’! Yes, his roots go down reeeal deep!”
It was then that I knew that Travis was going to make it, and that I needn’t become anxious any more, for I realized that God had supplied him with strength in his inner being, just as Paul prayed on behalf of the Ephesians.
”I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” Ephesians 3: 16-18 NIV
Four years later, Travis is “established in Christ’s love” and content to dwell there. He probably knows more fully than most of us how wide and long and high and deep Christ’s love is, and he has been an example and an encouragement to many other believers as well. It is impossible to predict what kind of storms may threaten us along the way, but our response to those storms comes from the faith produced within us by daily walking with Jesus.
How deep do your roots go?
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