The Landlord’s Responsibilities

Most people have had the experience of renting a home before they could purchase one. The renter is expected to make good decisions about keeping up the home. They are not to destroy it. They are to take good care of it. If something goes wrong, like the roof needs repairing or the plumbing needs fixing, the owner of the home is responsible to take care of those needs. The renter is like a steward, keeping the home in good condition; the owner is the one who makes the ultimate decisions for the upkeep of the home.

It’s the same with our spiritual lives. When we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, we are acknowledging that God has now purchased us with the blood of His Son. We now belong to Him and it is His responsibility to make the ultimate decisions for our lives. We who belong to Him have the responsibility of being good stewards. We learn what the owner wants and we take steps to stay within what He wills for us.

If major repairs need to be made, like the roof of our understanding gets blown away by a tornado of unprecedented problems in our lives, it’s up to God, as our owner, to repair the damage with His love, restoring peace while easing away frustrations. Isn’t that wonderful news? We are not responsible for cleaning up the debris of pain and confusion that blows across our paths by any storms of life. Our Father has promised to repair all the damage and to clean up the hurt, mopping up all the pain that floods our hearts.

He has made a promise to all His stewards. It’s found in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Is that not the most amazing promise by the most amazing Landlord of our lives? Why would we even attempt to repair our own pain or clean up our own confusion? Why would we dare to draw up architectural plans for all our tomorrows when the Master Builder has already logged in the blueprints to give us a hope and a future?

When we try to take on responsibilities of the owner of our lives, we are destined for certain disaster, but when we look to the Master Landlord to take care of all repair and remodeling, we are then destined to be made into something more beautiful than our dreams could imagine and much stronger than any storm that bursts into our days.

 

Bending But Never Breaking

I’ve been enjoying a two week stay in Wales where I’m house and dog sitting for friends who are away on vacation. Their home is in the countryside. Every morning, Buddy the dog, and I stroll along the River Wye. It’s a lovely start to the day.

Most of the days have been filled with the warmth of sunshine, but during two days, the sky turned grey with clouds. Rain fell on occasion and the wind picked up, whipping through plants and trees. During one particular afternoon, I stood watching the power of the wind. It was lashing out through the trees, causing branches to go swirling in all directions. What drew my particular attention was the affects of wind among the smaller plants. The wind was mighty, and the rain pelted down; at times bending the plants over, causing the tops to scrape the earth. That’s when I remembered something that I had once read about plants in a storm.

I read about a group of botanists who conducted experiments involving plants. They put the plants in glass containers so they could easily see the roots of each plant. Then, in their garden laboratory, they created storm conditions, sending water and wind thrashing down and whipping about the plants. What they saw, I found amazing! When the storm had become its most ferocious, the botanists could actually see the roots move and stretch down, going deeper into the soil. Isn’t that amazing? Yet again, we see how our magnificent God has woven His truths into the fabric of all His nature.

You see, what God writes within nature, reflects His truth in our spiritual worlds. Haven’t you had times in life when storms of turmoil had reached a point that, like David in the Psalms, you cried out, “How long, Lord, will you wait? When, Lord, will you come to my rescue? Are you ever going to change my situation? How long, how long, how long? It’s a continuous, agonizing cry!

The storms of despair blow so ferociously, that the leaves of our content are plucked right away. Branches of trust are stripped bare! Winds of doubt bend us to the earth in our mournful plight. How long, Oh Lord, how long? But wait, our Lord has not forsaken us. He has not left us without means to grasp strength, courage, and inner peace. There is no storm that can literally blow us to bits. Nature shows us that truth. Like the plants, we can also, as it says in Colossians 2:7, Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done.”

It’s so easy in a storm, to focus on what we see: winds of discouragement and rains of despair, threatening to rip away our peace and drown all our joy. It need not be, if we focus, not upon what we see with our eyes, but upon what we know in our hearts. Go to the root of the matter, and stretch your weary roots, deep into the soil of God’s love. Draw upon His nourishment. Remind yourself of His guidance in past storms. Winds and rains of frustration and tears of heartache may batter and bend you, but they need never break you. Let your roots go down deep, and draw from the richness of God’s own wisdom and guidance. He is there in the sunshine of our lives, and He is there in the storms of our lives. He is the very soil in which our roots go down deep, and they hang on, bending but never breaking.

Uprooted And Planted Again

The entire United Kingdom is under flood watch.  Rain has been coming in torrents, and ground water has been rising.  Fields are flooded,  along with roads, and in many cases, people’s homes.  Great damage has been done.  It’s a terrible situation for many.

My friend, Sally, who collected my mother and me from the airport two weeks ago, told me something which I found fascinating.  I share it with you now.  She was telling me about something she had seen on the TV news in relation to the recent flooding.  The news segment showed trees that had been uprooted due to the water surrounding it.  The entire root system had been exposed and the tree had floated away by several feet.  While that certainly sounds disastrous, it was being explained that, after the waters have receded, the trees can be moved back into position, and it will take root again firmly in the ground.  Isn’t that amazing?

As Sally was telling me this, a thought popped immediately into my head — you and I are sometimes like these trees.  Our roots are planted firmly in Jesus.  We stand strong in His Word, and we do not bend, no matter the storms of life that try to blow us over, or the waters of fear that try to uproot us — or do we?  In actual fact, we all have to admit that there have been times in our lives when we began to focus on the rising waters of our discontent more than we were focusing on the strength of God available to us.  Eyes were taken off the soil of God’s truth, which holds us firmly in place, and without intending to do so,  we fell over.  We were uprooted with our weaknesses; our foibles exposed for all to see.

What can we do?  We have two choices.  One — we can continue to lay there in our misery and failure.  Of course, that will only aid in drying us up spiritually, adding to more gloom.  A second choice — we can ask our Father, the Master Gardener, to put us upright again, and plant us once more into the good soil of His truth, and love, and forgiveness.  Father leaves the choice entirely to us.  He is always ready to plant our roots into His goodness, but He won’t force it.  It’s our free choice.  Only one choice leads to joy and inner peace; it’s the choice with God’s own promise, which reads as follows:

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  Colossians 2:7

What a lovely promise to claim when the waters of difficulty uproot us from our place of strength through Jesus Christ.