I once read an article about a forest located at the western edge of the Colorado Plateau in south-central Utah called “Pando Aspen Grove” (at Fishlake National Forest). Pando is Latin for “I spread out.” In this grove is one aspen tree that is nicknamed the “Trembling Giant” and it is the oldest known living organism at approximately 80,000 years old; it is the original tree in this grove. Its underground root system is massive spreading out over 106 acres (thus the name “Pando”). Though it looks like a forest, it is actually a clonal colony of an individual tree – the Trembling Giant. When Jesus walked the earth, Pando was already ancient. How amazing is that? As I read about Pando, and how each tree is connected to the original tree, making its ability to stand strong and not yield to distress a feat beyond feats. I thought of our connection to Jesus and how we must be able to cling to him or abide in him in order to stand strong in adversity. Sometimes when hardship strikes our lives, it gets hard to even cling to Jesus, but because we all were created in the image of the “Original,” Jesus has a massive “root system” of people that can help us to stay connected to him during those hard times. Erin Davis, who wrote a piece on Pando, said that “perhaps Jesus was thinking of Pando when He said the words, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).”
When you have godly people in your life, you can call on them to come help you stay connected or stand firm. This is what God’s “root system” does best. We help each other cling to the “Original” – the Vine. Think about it. It is easier to uproot a single shoot, but a “root system” that is all connected to each other is harder to shake and make bow. Without Jesus as our center point of connection, we cannot do anything to stand successfully.
As I read about this incredible colony of trees, I thought about my iris bed that I cleared this last spring. It had gotten so crammed that the heads of the flowers were getting smaller and some didn’t bloom at all. As I dug down to separate the tubers underground, the root system was so massive and connected that it took great effort on my part to get them separated. Another picture of how when we band together we are stronger in our walk with God. If you look with eyes to see, all around us are lessons given by God in the design of His creation. Now added to my bucket list is a visit to see this “Trembling Giant” that stood even before Jesus’ time, but even more important is taking this lesson from God’s design and building a “root system” in my own life that will help me to stand firm. How wide and deep is your “root system?”