When I Plant Myself Far from the Water

For the last couple months, I’ve had the first half of Proverbs 3:5 on sticky notes stuck to my bathroom mirror in my house at Elon – Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

It’s a refrain that’s been stuck in my head ever since I put it up, and at an apt time as well. As a senior in college, I’ve got a lot of decisions in my future – what I do with my life, where I live my life, who I marry (if God would have me marry), how many kids I have, what church I attend, etc. So many decisions. Often in those situations, I get super overwhelmed about what all I am about to face, what all I am about to decide on.

This morning I turned in my Bible in Jeremiah 17 rather unintentionally. I looked around and came across a few verses that rocked me. First, verses 5-6:

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness.

How often do I turn away from my God and turn away from His purposes! How often I think my way is better! And when that happens, I see the results the Lord promises there in the second half of the verse. I feel like a shrub in the desert, like there is no growth, no fruit, no good coming from what I’m doing.

It’s because I’m trusting in the wrong person. I am wicked and evil and unintelligent when it comes to the things of God. A lot of times I think I can do all things through me who strengthens me.

But how feeble that argument looks when I approach my sin, my future, my past, my relationships, my schoolwork, anything.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 provides me a new hope:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is 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 is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

This is what trust in the Lord means for me.

I’m planted by water and send my roots to the stream. When I plant myself and my future in the hands of the living God, I am fed and I am kept alive. But I have to actively do that. When I plant myself far from the living water that is Christ (John 7:37), I am not fed and I am not kept alive. When we don’t place our trust in Christ, we grow weary and feeble, like a plant who is not fed consistently by water. We must set our hearts on God’s plan as for our good (Romans 8:28) and His path as our joy (Psalm 16:11).

I do not fear when the heat comes and am not anxious in the year of drought. It’s so easy to fear in hard times. It’s so easy to be anxious when nothing seems to be going right. If I must be honest, I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch spiritually recently. There’s been some heat and some drought, little rain. There’s been fear and anxiety because I’m not trusting in the Lord. I get reminded of these words from Philippians 4:4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The key to trusting God is giving all things up to Him and rejoicing in the heat and the drought, planting ourselves by His side. With all of my heart, all of me. In everything. Not just bits and pieces, sometimes. It doesn’t work that way.

This is much easier said than done. Beg God to give you the strength to trust, then keep walking the Christian life, obedient and faithful to the One who is faithful to you when you don’t deserve it. That’s trust. And it only comes from the Creator.

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