The Tree that Never Withers
2017 flew by and 2018 is already here, it’s crazy how time flies I’m sure everyone can relate. At the beginning of each year I always ask the Lord for a word and verse for that year and for 2018 He gave me Jeremiah 17:7,
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
I have read this verse so many times but it spoke to me a little differently than normal, especially when it says, “it is not anxious in the year of drought…”, to me this is the epitome of living in faith. When everything around you looks hopeless, there is no rain, there is not a clear path or direction, we are not anxious because we know our provision comes from the overflowing spring and our roots are planted deep. Our trust is in the Lord who does not waiver, when there is a drought we bare fruit.
In contrast right before this verse Jeremiah talks about those who trust in man..”Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabitable.”
We cannot live and sustain ourselves by trusting in man or our own strength, we are like a shrub in the desert, when we trust in man and in flesh we cannot see even when good comes, we have no roots, we are not planted. A shrub in the desert is completely dependent on whether it rains or not, which is inconsistent and unreliable, much like the strength and wisdom of man. When there is a drought it cannot bare fruit, it withers. But a tree that is planted by a stream, the stream of the “living water”, does not fear, it rests, it is planted, it sees the drought coming but knows that it is not dependent on the things of this world, it’s life does not rely on a foundation that is constantly changing.
What would it look like if we lived with a trust like that? We would never stop bearing fruit, we would not live in fear when we lose a job, when a person we trust breaks that trust, when we don't know how we will provide for our family, when we go through transition and have no stability. We know who owns it all, who is the living water, who is the constant source, we do not waiver, we bare fruit in times when there is no rain because we have a hidden source, our roots go out and find the stream and we rest in that. The tree does not worry or strive, it knows it’s source will never run out.
A song that I have been hearing and singing a lot is a song called “Build my Life” by Housefires that goes..” I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation and I will put my trust in you alone and I will not be shaken..” My prayer for myself and for you for 2018 is that you put your trust in the one who does not waiver, He does not come and go like the rain, He is an overflowing spring and when our trust and roots go out and find that stream we can have access to a never ending source.
These verses make me think about South Africa, you may or may not know that they are currently in a water crisis, all their water will be shut down by May and they will only receive limited rations per day. They are in a drought and it is real and it’s a scary reality to a lot of our friends who live there. Using this as a metaphor for these verses, in our flesh we see the drought, in our flesh we trust in man and in factors where we have no control it is scary, we become quite anxious in the year of drought and it’s easy to see the circumstances and fear and worry because they are completely reliant on the rain for sustenance. This is how we live when our faith and trust and foundations are not built on the Lord. This year I want to see the drought and smile, to see no rain but know where my roots are planted. To be in a desert but my leaves are green, to be a living contradiction to the culture. That people would look at my life and see the miracle. A tree that never withers, what a sight to see.