Day Seven: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”(Jer 17:7-8)
I first read these verses on the bottom of a stationery page which my friend had written me an encouraging note on in high school. While I do remember that the note itself made an impact at the time, these verses were what really grabbed my attention and stuck with me over the years. The vivid imagery stood out to me but also the analogy; I wanted to be that tree! So although my friend was trying to encourage me through her own kind words, she ended up inspiring me in a different, more lasting way through these verses instead.
One thing about these verses is that while I can remember the basic gist of them, I keep on forgetting where they are found in the Bible itself and keep on having to look up the reference in a concordance. I will finally remember that they are from somewhere in Jeremiah and that helps me narrow it down but still…! I guess this is why I like websites like Biblegateway.com so much; I usually can remember a verse itself fairly well but am not so good about memorizing the reference (which can be problematic).
When I think about these verses now, they often make me stop and wonder where my roots are planted at the moment. Are they actually sunk down deep into God’s grace and truth or have I started to get my sustenance from another, less lasting source instead? I’d like to believe that I do trust and take confidence in God first and foremost in my life but sometimes my actions and life outcomes say otherwise.
For example, do I fear when the heat comes, when the going gets rough, when my plans don’t go as planned, etc? How am I doing with my worrying and anxiety levels during seasons of spiritual dryness? Can I pinpoint the fruit God is growing in my life right now, especially as seen in light of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23? “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” All good questions to ask as indicators of the health of my spiritual walk and my current level of intimacy with Christ. (See also John 15)
Sometimes I can answer that my confidence and trust is in the Lord at the moment. Sometimes I am feeling peace and joy in the midst of difficult seasons. Sometimes I can see clearly where God’s fruit is growing in my life. But what about when this is not the case for me?
I think this is precisely when I need to cling to God’s grace in my life all the more! I often have a tendency to get down on myself at these times and beat myself up, but I need to remember that God never does. I am reminded of these verses from Lamentations 3:22-23 about God’s mercies being new every morning: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lord, help me also remember that truth as I seek to become more and more like the tree from Jeremiah 17:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”(Jer 17:7-8)