Trust in the Lord grows roots that endure droughts and storms of life
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“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 New Living Translation
I saw green things everywhere I looked in the jungle of Peru, especially along the Ucayali River. This canopy of leaves that shaded our walk into the Shipibo village joined the banana trees and other plants in revealing the fact that they were very much alive.
Even though these trees and plants are green, they see their days of hardship. These trees survive the rainy season when water climbs their trunks. They also survive times of drought when it seems an eternity between raindrops. These trees survive and thrive because their roots draw moisture form the ever present Ucayali River.
The prophet Jeremiah compares people who trust in the Lord with these trees. He speaks of these people as those who hope in the Lord and who find confidence in him. This hope and confidence flow from the ever present grace of God.
To have hope in the Lord is to entrust our future into his keeping. This is hard for control freaks. We want something tangible, not something or someone we can’t perceive to fill us with hope. Sometimes it’s easier for us to put our hope in people than God. We hope our spouse will meet our needs. We hope our boss will acknowledge our work and give us a raise.
It’s much harder to hope in a God that we cannot perceive than tangible people. It’s also hard to have confidence in this God.
Confidence to act deals with the present not the future. We confide in people who have proven themselves worthy of our trust, yet even these people can disappoint us and we lose our confidence in their ability to act on our behalf.
The people of Judah had put their hope and confidence in rulers and idols, and now they were about to be taken into exile as a result. They had no roots to endure the drought.
Droughts will come, as well as downpours. There will be days when our throats feel parched by the depravity of life, and other days when we’re overwhelmed by the massive downpours. There will be days when we feel alone and separated from others. There will be days when we pray that nothing else gets added to our lives because we can’t take anymore pain.
Whether we’re facing downpours or droughts, Jeremiah promises that people will thrive who trust in the Lord and find their hope and confidence in him. It is Jesus who conquered both the storms and the drought by facing them himself. He knows the drought of temptation in his temptation. He knows the downpours in his passion and death.
In Christ and through Christ we grow roots that drink deep of the life giving water of God’s grace. With these roots we ride out the droughts and storms of life.