Back To Our Roots
To both watch and hear the world awaken on a cool spring morning is an awesome experience. Refreshing, rejuvenating, and a thousand other adjectives could be used.
By J.R. Ensey
[Written on the front porch of a deep East Texas farmhouse]
To a tired mind and body, to arise and sit on a farmhouse porch and watch it all come to life is like a summertime dip in the creek.
The roosters have aroused me out of sleep at 4:30 A.M. An eclectic cacophony of songbirds are already making up an early morning choir. How many kinds can there possibly be on and around this deep East Texas farm? The squirrels are digging for nuts underneath the trees. The bantam hen and her chicks come through the yard like a schoolmarm and her young’uns on a field trip.
Hark! Hark! A quartet of geese feign fright and run headlong with wings extended for the pond. The horses in the pasture walk slowly, unlimbering their muscles. A bellowing bull in the back forty is announcing his presence. Playful yard dogs roll and tumble in the grass. Martins flitter around their high-rise front door.
What were these choirs and quartets, solos and duets singing about? (Certainly they ministered to me!) They were telling me that things were not quite as serious as I had been thinking. That problems were not unsolvable. That life was simpler than I had been imagining.
We can bury ourselves in responsibility until we cannot see the light of reality. That’s when we must renew ourselves by going back to the basics—regressing from complexity to simplicity. To get in touch again with simple life forms, those we knew and understood as children.
This points up one of the disadvantages of growing up in a big city. The sounds of morning are made of auto tires, horns, sirens, yells and truck mufflers. It is all so earthy, manmade. Some kids grow up having never seen a green pasture or a farm animal. That’s tragic. There’s something about the country air, the animals, the fields that make it easier to touch God and reality. A brook, a bag swing, and sand between your toes. A spring rain, and you don’t care if you get wet.
Your big problems seem to shrink away in the presence of such. And why not? God intended those for the good of man. “God created man upright but he hath sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29)—most to his detriment, I might add.
We need to go back betimes to our roots. The old homeplace. First things. Forgetting the technology that surrounds us daily. Back to the rocky roads, the sandy lanes, the creekbank, the birds and squirrels.
But we should also do that spiritually. When pressures mount and stresses multiply, and the enemy comes in like a flood, go back to your beginnings—the altar where you prayed through, your first love. Refresh yourself in the memory of the simple faith you exercised then. Simple prayers. Simple worship.
Paul seemed to want us to stay close to our roots. Go on to maturity in understanding (Hebrews 6:1-2), but keep your walk with God on simple terms: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3). He pled with us to be “wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Romans 16:19).
It's not easy advice to follow. It takes effort, but the older I get, the more I believe the balance it brings is well worth it.