Will You Stand Firm When Storms Come?

how-deep-are-your-roots

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 Renewal Ministries’ newsletter, which can be viewed here.

Recently in our parish here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, there was a prophecy given at the Friday evening prayer meeting. I am quoting what, I think, are the most significant sections of the prophecy:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by running water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jer 17:7-80).

My people, you have been living for many years in a time of unprecedented grace, when the river of My Spirit has been flowing freely: Strong, wide, abundant, shining in the light.

But I tell you most solemnly, my people that the day is coming soon—is even now at the door—when this river will go underground. It will still be present—strong and powerful—indeed, even more powerful than before—but it will be found only by those who stretch out their roots toward it in the darkness: in humility, faith, and trust.

Those who do so will remain green when the heat comes, bearing witness to my grace and love. They will continue to bear fruit even in the midst of the drought, fruit that I will be able to harvest to feed the many who will be starving for My Love.

Act now to sink your roots deep in Me, in humility and faith and trust, so that when the day of drought comes, you may not just stand but flourish for the sake of yourselves, your families and friends and the many I would bring to Myself through you. Take seriously this word, My people, for the time is almost at hand, even at the door. Put your trust in Me. Put all your trust in Me. Blessed is the man or woman who puts ALL his trust in Me.

Many of you, who have known me through the years, have heard me on numerous occasions refer to this analogy of the strong trees whose roots go down deep in the soil to find water. Such trees are powerful because of the work of the root system and are thus often able to endure the storms without cracking or breaking . . . . I have likened that image to each of us and our roots of faith. How deep are they so that when the storms of life come, as they often do, we are prepared to stand firm, endure the storm, and come out strong and whole and ready to nourish others who are younger or those whose faith is weak.

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 15, there is a similar analogy where Jesus, speaking of the grapevine, tells his disciples: “As the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in Him, he it is who bears much fruit for apart from me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15: 4-5).

How do we abide in the vine? How do our roots become strong and deep? How do we draw our nourishment from Him?

The prophecy speaks of humility. In this context, it means that we truly put all our trust in God, not in self. I cannot make myself good. Only God can. I cannot be humble by myself; I need to learn that my peace, my hope, my faith, and my confidence only come about as I put God in the center of my life. (And take myself out of the center.) That needs daily practice—or, in my case, many times a day.

The prophecy also speaks of the need for faith to allow the foundation of our lives to be rooted in Him and not in self. The gift of faith is given to us in baptism and is strengthened as a powerful gift for all of life in Confirmation. Do I nourish my faith? Do I nourish the grace of the sacraments? Am I grateful to God for the faith He has given me? Do I actively and even daily “sink” my roots in Him? Is my faith the foundation of my life or only a “brick” in that same foundation?

A definition of faith that I use as a measuring stick is this: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for and conviction about the things we do not see” (Heb 11:1). (Read all of Hebrews 11 and 12). Ask God for help! He will be only too glad to give if you seek with a sincere heart.

Do I think about heaven? Do I spend time regularly examining my conscience and confessing my sins so that I may quickly see the face of My Father in heaven when I die? Ask God for a hunger and a thirst for heaven. It means union with the source of ALL LOVE—that is what we were made for.

Trust. Psalm 40:1-4 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord His trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.”

Faith, humility, and trust. Use these tools to make an examination of conscience now, so that, should we enter a greater storm than we have already seen, we may be prepared and ready—our roots down deep in the mind and heart of Christ, where courage, wisdom, and mercy abound.

“Fear not, little flock. It has pleased your Father to give you the Kingdom” (Lk 12:32-34). Nourish these truths in your hearts—daily—and watch the merciful power of God’s love expand your heart.

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I am so grateful for my readers and for those who listen to my radio program, Food for the Journey. I want to tell you know about a new initiative that will enable me to share a deeper conversation with my listeners, Friends of Food for the Journey. With a gift of $10 each month, you will help sustain the production of new programs, and join me in my work of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ—a message of hope, mercy, and joy—to listeners across the world. You also will receive a special monthly email message from me, and you will be remembered in my prayers and those of my sisters. You can learn more by visiting the donation page here. Thank you for your consideration, and may God bless you.

Sister Ann Shields

Sr. Ann Shields, SGL, is part of Renewal Ministries’ leadership team and a member of The Servants of God’s Love. She is an internationally noted speaker, the author of numerous books on Catholic spirituality, and the host of the popular daily radio program Food for the Journey. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI awarded Sr. Ann the Benemerenti Medal for service to the Church. The Catholic Library Association also awarded Sr. Ann the Aggiornamento Award, for her outstanding contribution to the renewal of parish and community life.

7 thoughts on “Will You Stand Firm When Storms Come?

  1. Thank you, Mary. We will add you to our mailing list. Please visit the page here if you would like to be added to our newsletter mailing list (versus a copy sent via email). God bless you!

  2. Dear Margaret, Thank you for your request! I will add you to our email list. If you would like to receive a paper version of our newsletter in the mail, please visit the page here. God bless you!

  3. Dear Cheryl, Thank you for your request as well! I will add you to our email list. If you would like to receive a paper version of our newsletter in the mail, please visit the page here. God bless you!

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