If You Want To Flourish, Grow Roots

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,
in an uninhabited salt land.

“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 17:5-8

In this passage, YHWH says there are two types of people. The first is like a shrub in the desert: He’s surviving, but there’s never enough to flourish. Despite what he’s been told, life just stays dry. Why? Because he “trusts in man.” He’s waiting for admiration to make him whole. He’s waiting for wealth to make him happy. He’s waiting for status to make him satisfied. Wholeness, happiness, satisfaction–these things never come, at least in no greater measure than water in the desert.

The second person 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.” This person, too, sees desert-like seasons. Things “above ground” can (and often do) get pretty dry for him. Yet, he has sent out his roots to the stream. What does this mean? It means he trusts in the Lord.

Do you want to flourish? I do. We’ll need to recognize that we can’t control the weather. Heat will come. Drought will come. Perhaps it’s bearing down on you today, but there is a stream that flows bright and clear with all you need. There is a stream that can keep your leaves green, help you to bear fruit, help you flourish, even when everything above ground seems dry: The Lord. To drink this living water, we can put down roots: Trust in Him.

Flourishing doesn’t mean faking leaves or forcing fruit: Plastering on a smile or rattling off platitudes or grumblingly doing good turns while inside we’re just dry. If we wish to flourish, we need to put down roots to the stream that gives life. Whether there’s a drought or a thunderstorm above the surface today, we can grow roots down to the stream that does not run dry. We can grow trust in God through prayer, Scripture, fellowship, worship, generosity, service, that we might be:

…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.

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