Looking back can help keep faith’s roots strong

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

It is planting time again. Those bushes and shrubs that have looked beleaguered during the winter are beginning to show signs of flourishing.

Years ago we brought an aspen tree home from the mountains and planted it in our yard. Worried about the trees ability to withstand the transplant, we chose an area by the patio because it seemed to be cooler spot.

The following days made us think the tree was going to die. It looked droopy and rather wilted.

But as the days passed, the green in the leaves lost their wilted appearance and the aspen no longer appeared in shock. Its roots had taken hold and pulled it through the upheaval. Once again the aspen took on the glittering presence as it had in the mountains.

That aspen reminds me of my life that takes drastic turns at times. When I am temporarily uprooted, I return to my childhood spiritual roots for strength.

I remember one Sunday night service at a little country church where my daddy was preaching. That night I realized for the first time that I needed Jesus Christ.

I recall my parents on their knees praying for Susie after the doctor had diagnosed her with rheumatic fever. That is when I first realized the significance of prayer.

I think about Mr. Talbee who owned the garage and gas station on the corner in my parents’ seminary days. He knew we were on a tight budget, so he offered help with free gasoline every Saturday. Throughout Daddy’s seminary years, we drove to those country churches on gas compliments of Mr. Talbee. That is when I first realized that Christians were to help one another.

I remember our milkman in Kansas City, Mr. Jack Fleming. He would carry his bottles of milk in a wire carrier. His little twin boys were sickly and both boys were blind. Many mornings Mother invited him in for coffee, talked to him about God, and prayed with him. That is when I first realized that Jesus could comfort.

I think back to two friends from Denmark whose parents were in seminary with my parents. I had no idea about Denmark but knew it was across the ocean somewhere. That is when I first realized that Jesus was for everyone.

I remember Daddy holding down two jobs, going to seminary and still pastoring a church. Mother worked, went to seminary and cared for all of us. Their work and sacrifice showed me that Christian commitment meant daily sacrifice.

I remember those time-consuming trips in our car that did get pretty boring. To help entertain us, Mother taught us to recite the 23 Psalm and the beginning verses of the 14th chapter of John. That is when I realized that the Bible was and would be a significant part of my life.

I journey in my mind backward to my roots and view the beginnings of the faith that was rooted and grounded in me as a young child. Since that time, my faith has grown stronger and deeper.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:17: “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have the power with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Now that I am older, my the roots of my childhood faith have grown deep and strong and still I feel the awe that the God of the universe loves me.

Looking back can be beneficial. We can visit the places where we first learned about God and remember the steadfastness of a Heavenly Father who cares for us.

That helps me flourish again.