I had a small maple key that had sprouted in my garden and over the past couple of years I’ve just pulled it out.  Normally when I do this, it comes out at the root, but not with this one.  So I let it get a big bigger and tried to pull it out with the root intact, but failed yet again.  Since the root remained intact, it just kept coming back above the surface again and again.  Dealing with it at a superficial level only seemed to strengthen the root making it grow deeper and firmer into the soil.

One day, after a couple of years, I finally got serious about getting this maple key out.  I grabbed a small hand shovel and began to gently remove the dirt around it.  I tried to pull it again but it would not budge.  So I continued to dig away.  As I cleared more of the soil from it, I could see that the stalk of the maple key root was actually getting thicker instead of thinner.  I then realized I had a bigger problem than I first realized, so I got a slightly bigger shovel.

Continuing to gently dig into the soil, I came up against the roots of a small shrub that I wanted to keep.  So I continued with the small shovel and worked slowly, or I would destroy a lot more worth keeping along the way.  I painstakingly dug and dug and dug and dug, for a long time.  Because my efforts had allowed the root to entrench itself, ie only pulling it out at a superficial level, it had wound its way around the roots of the other plants in this garden bed.  This reminded me of all the negative habits and mental patterns so ingrained and rooted in me, that they required this painful and arduous excavation and extraction.  Something so deeply rooted in my life cannot always be stopped at a surface level.  It may require a deeper level of attention to expose more of the cause.  I guess some things I think are a non issue go far deeper than I realize.

Ultimately, after digging about a foot into the tough clay, enough of the root was finally exposed and thinning, so I pulled most of it out, about 98%.  A few tendrils of newer, fine shoots remained, it wasn’t enough to survive on its own.  Its sustenance was removed and what remained would just disintegrate in time.

I know that God is able to remove these ideas and habits instantly if He so chooses, but what have we learned?  Isn’t that part of the sanctification and purification of our souls?  If I only rely on God to remove these things, I’m like a baby requiring others to support me.  Would not God as our Father want us to grow and mature and be able to navigate Life in His image as a mature Godly being, partaking of the solid food of Spirit, rather than relying on the infant food, as mentioned in Hebrews?