Sickness. Heartache. Loss. Pain. Worry. Trouble. Do these words resonate with you today? The last several weeks it seems everywhere I look another friend or family member is hurting. Sick or in pain. My heart is heavy today as I pray for my friends, for my family, for you. Allow me to start this post with a disclaimer . . . the following words will not explain why these things come or how to stop them. I simply do not know those answers. What I hope these words will give you is hope. Hope that Jesus knows our pain and suffering. And He is here with us through it.
I recently came on staff with an amazing group called Planting Roots. It is a fairly new ministry to women impacted by the military in some way (active duty, reservists, moms, wives, sisters, ect). I could write an entire post about how God is working there and how excited I am to be a part of this, but that is for another day. The key verse Planting Roots uses is Jeremiah 17:8. As I refreshed my memory on this verse I was reminded of some lessons God brought me through a couple of years ago. I started digging back through some event notes and before I knew it was carried away in study with Him. What He has laid on my heart would make for an awfully long blog post, so I am going to break this up into a little series for us to learn together, okay? Okay!
It all starts with the words of the prophet Jeremiah in, chapter 17 verses 7-8. He has just been warning the people of oncoming destruction if the nation does not repent of its’ wicked ways. Jeremiah had a most difficult message to deliver but he was consistent in his obedience to the message God gave him. Not only did Jeremiah tell us of the destruction that our sin would bring, but he also told us much about the righteous path of following God.
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.
The words rock me to my core. “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.” How can a tree survive an entire year of drought and still bear fruit? How can we survive the horrors and trials of this world? How can we survive and still bear the resemblance and “fruit” of God? This tree, its leaves were always green. Always. Not just on the good days, but always! Isn’t this amazing?
Verse 7 makes things very clear to us. If we want to not just survive, but thrive in this world we are going to have to put our trust in Christ. Our confidence must always be 100% in Him. It’s the only way my friends. It is the only way we can survive. Cancer. Endless stays in the NICU. Car wrecks. Divorce. Loss of a child. Infertility. Affairs. Sickness. Never ceasing physical pain. Hatred. Financial failures. Abuse. This world. Our hearts must be like the roots of that tree. Firmly rooted in the right type of soil, in the right location, and with our trust in the right God.
It’s the only way to survive.
This world doesn’t make sense. It isn’t fair. Bad things happen. Unexplainable, terrible things happen to good people. It doesn’t make sense to us. We will never understand it.
I don’t know about you but I don’t usually feel like the tree in this verse. But I so desperately want to. It’s easy to say with words that my trust and confidence are in the Lord. It is an entirely different thing to actually keep it there when things get tough. When the storms come, when life is unfair and hard, what does the condition of my heart look like? Am I firmly rooted in Him? Am I planted by the water where I can be nurtured through the drought? What type of soil has my heart fallen into? Will it get me through this? Will I survive? Will I thrive?
I want to take the next week or so and dive in to what this looks like for me and you on a practical basis. How do we take these words of Jeremiah and heed them in a way that will help us not only place, but keep our trust in the Lord. I want the leaves of my tree to always be green. In the rain, in the drought, in the storm and in the sunshine. Always.
Will you join me? Where are you at today? What hardship are you facing? I know you are out there. I read your posts. I see your faces. I know you are hurting. How can I pray for you today?
This post is linked to Tell it to Me Tuesdays