“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 heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
I had a lot of time on my hands driving through Wyoming and Nevada for the third time since moving to Salinas. There’s not a whole lot to keep your attention in that area. Cruise control set and air conditioning on, I checked my mirrors and gazed at the scenery, desert style shrubbery, hills, and lots depopulated areas for 100’s of miles.
Interesting things go through the mind while driving through the desert: I wonder how long the bug lived before it splatted on my window? I wonder if we could purchase land for cheap and strike oil? Who lives out here? What’s the Nevada crime rate? Why don’t we use Nevada as a place to put our national cemeteries? And… Why do we plant ourselves away from the water of life?
As I was driving through Patrick, NV… yes, Patrick… I noticed that there were lush green trees by the river (or stream) that ran through it. Those trees were the healthiest trees in the area, strong and green amongst the 100-degree heat. They stood out amongst the shriveling brown desert shrubs.
Why do we plant ourselves away from the water of life? It only took about 15 feet from the river in Patrick, NV before you started to see brown shriveled shrubs or trees again. Unfortunately, this is where we too often want to abide.
Much of my life has been trying to live 15 feet from the stream, seeing how far from the water source I could be and still survive (or still call myself a Christian). Unfortunately, life at a distance from the water source still results in a brown shriveled shrub. It may still have life, but it will not be healthy – little green, little strength and certainly no fruit. At the first sign of trouble (or heat) it shrivels.
God’s ways are truly better – abide with Him. As our verse above says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” He shall be like the healthy green tree that dwells by the water. This trust isn’t just a one-time trust in the Lord for salvation, but it means trusting the Lord in our daily life. Do we truly believe that Christ is the water in which we will never thirst again? If so, we trust that His ways and commands are better on a daily basis.
This does not mean he will take us out of the desert and plant us somewhere else. Instead, the verse tells us that when the heat comes, we will not fear but we will continue to bear fruit. If you want to experience the fruit of the Gospel daily, abide with Christ. He is the source of eternal life and daily fruit!
Pastor Patrick, NV