As I sat at the creek behind my house, watching the water flow, I realized I had found a place of rest, a place of quiet, and I just sat there, being lulled by the burbling of the water moving over the rocks, flowing on as normal. Nature continues even though we feel like life has stopped. As I sat there, I looked at the bank behind me and saw the reason the trail above was closed in that section. The bank had been unstable, and with winter storms and such, trees had come down, and the ground was eroded, literally washed away. Above the washout was a clump of trees with roots dangling down. It was kind of neat to see the loose roots, not covered by the dirt but exposed to the air.
As I thought about this image, I was challenged. In better days, this tree (now only a stump) and subsequent roots was nourished by the creek it was near and by the soil that surrounded the roots. Now, there was nothing to feed it. But what does that mean for me? How do I compare?
I thought of Psalm 1:3 where the psalmist compares the righteous to “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither”. Or Jeremiah 17:8, where the one who trusts in the Lord is “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.” And John 15:4-5 where Jesus says “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
During these days of uncertainty, of chaos, of isolation and storm, am I impacted by the world around me? Am I fearful as the “heat” comes, or the “year of drought” challenges me? Or are my leaves green and my branches bearing fruit? Am I trusting God to care for me? Am I allowing God to nourish my soul, to feed me as I rest in him, as I spend time by the water of his word?
I’ve had a few moments of despair and felt overwhelmed, but have been reminded about trust, and faith, and what is important. I want to be like that tree, standing tall, letting my roots go deep, but it will take me remaining in Jesus, spending time with him, letting his word go deep.