Be a Tree… A Faithful Tree
Readings: Psalm 19 ◊ Jeremiah 17:7-8 ◊ Romans 12:9-13 ◊ John 14:21-31 ◊
Sometimes you just gotta “be a tree…”
Faith can be difficult sometimes. Any myriad number of circumstances or lack of circumstances can be the catalyst for a faith spinout. Faith, as it is defined for us from the Bible, is the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrew 11:1). This can be disconcerting sometimes when the “things we do see and feel” overwhelm the “assurance about what we do not see.” I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days. I haven’t felt my best physically or emotionally for starters and there are some issues regarding spiritual discernment I am working through that lend another element of complexity to the way I “feel” at present. I realize there are those brothers and sisters in the faith who are going through much more difficult seasons of life than I am, but that realization doesn’t diminish the sense of what I think or feel.
What does a soul do in times like these?
The most important and helpful exercise I’ve learned for these difficult times is to be careful of what I feed my soul. I have noticed that I am very sensitive during these seasons and can be susceptible to harmful influences. The old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out,” is very apropos in times like these. The best practices I have found are to limit the amount and be careful of the content that I allow my soul to feed on. The words of the Apostle Paul come to mind from his letter to the Philippians where he writes; “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8-9)
The question remains, where to go for these “praiseworthy” things to think on? The first place might also be the most obvious; I go to the Bible. The Scriptures verses God the Holy Spirit was gracious and loving to provide me with were these that follow:
The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth the work of God’s hands. Day unto day takes up the story—and night unto night makes known the message. (Psalm 19:1-2)
The Lord provided an added blessing on top of these words with an exceptionally beautiful week of marvelous weather for me to examine and soak in His glory day unto day and night unto night. As I would awaken to a new day and I would open my Bible and the prayers of the Psalms, a fresh reminder and prayer from God would fall upon my lips and my heart—“Remind me each morning, of your constant love: for I put my trust in you” (Psalm 143:8).
These words alone were enough to help me see beyond the momentary aches and afflictions of my body and my mind, but God, in His abundant and overwhelming love, provided more encouragement and word pictures for me. This next blessing came from the Song of Jeremiah.
Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. They shall be like a tree planted by the water, sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
These words from verse eight were most inspiring and encouraging to me; “it shall not fear when heat comes, its leaves stay green, in drought it is not anxious…and it doesn’t cease to bear fruit.” Yes.
I will be like a tree, a tree sending out roots along the stream of my God. I will be a faithful tree. Me, a tree.
Sometimes life turns up the heat. Sometimes my life feels like a drought has come, spiritually speaking; however, Jeremiah writes that we are blessed when we trust in the LORD anyway. He says that in those times of heat and drought, we can… not only survive, but we can THRIVE… not becoming fearful or anxious…staying green (no sign even that there is drought or excessive heat), and bearing fruit always. Yes. I will be a faithful tree.
Glory to You, Source of all being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.