Monday, April 30, 2012

A tree planted by the river

Lord, I feel like I’ve been arguing with you and I don’t feel very good about it. I set out to find your truth and all I did was look for loopholes. I wasn’t open to listening.

Ever since I started following you I have found you and your Word trustworthy. You have helped me so much – when I’ve been stable, but even more so when I’ve been in trouble. Forgive me, God, for throwing so many questions filled with doubt your way.

I want to focus instead on the tree you talk about in Jeremiah 17.  How much more uplifting it would be to talk about that tree!

This is what you told us in verses 5-8:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh
    and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
    they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
    in a salt land where no one lives.
“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.”

That fruit in the last verse reminds me of the fruit Helen talked about. The fruit of joy we experience when we stay connected to you. The fruit we have when we keep trusting you. You promise we will be like that tree, planted by the river, its roots easily reaching down to water. Even in years of drought, we will stay alive and produce fruit in season.

…and now I need to question you again, Lord: What about the long depressions some of us go through – depressions that last several seasons – when it really seems impossible to produce fruit? When we even start wondering why we’re living. Some of us never escape the illness. Will our roots be able to keep drinking from the water where they’re planted? Will you help us find reminders of your presence?

I believe you will, Lord, with others’ help. If we can reach out to godly friends maybe they will help keep our roots planted by the river. Trouble is, I know that many depressed people who follow you, don’t have friends like that who will be understanding and compassionate. That’s the tough thing.

Pastor Don quoted Gordon Fee yesterday during his sermon: "Joy does not mean the absence of sorrow but the capacity to rejoice in the midst of it." We can have that capacity if we keep trusting in you, like trees firmly planted by the river.

That kind of reminds me of David as we see him in the Psalms. In many of his writings he is obviously having a hard time - probably depressed - and yet, in most cases he ends by rejoicing in God.

If all of us could only be like David!


Hein said...

how don't we want that someone who we know is standing in for us in prayer all the time. when we fail we know we covered.I said it previously that God know what He got himself into when He made us. God know I can not spent the time with Him because of my illness, have issues with stuff and people. He knows I try to manage this unwanted guest in my life the best I can and His Grace will not fail me will not let me dry out alongside the river but will keep me rooted into Him at all times even if it is harder than other people I will be sustained through His love.
I realized now that is why Ps 23 is so precious to me.

me and the mrs decided to take our relationship slow as friends and learn each other again after 7 months of separation. Nothing is impossible for God never thought this would ever happened.

marja said...

Thanks, Hein. I'm glad you understand.

Hein said...

i at times before diagnoses on Sundays wanted to stay at home not going to church, partly i felt i didn't really fit in the crowd and just not wanting a lot of people around me and the mrs thought i was backsliding not setting an example for our child this setting up a fight of course. now i know why i am like that. i don't have to feel guilty, but the enemy doesn't care about illness He use it against us try to make us feel even worse, something we as Christians have to guard against.

now that we will be starting over again i take the step of faith like Joshua that God will go out before me and prepare my wife for my illness something that i am not capable off.