I planted some grass seed earlier this spring in a bare spot in my yard. I watered it for a few weeks and it grew up nice and green. It looked great for at least six weeks. Then we hit a hot, dry spell in July. We had no rain for a couple weeks. The rest of my yard held up OK, but that one spot turned brown. I am watering it again now, but it might be too late. It’s strange because the spot of grass seemed just as green and healthy as the rest of the yard. I’m not an expert, but I assume the problem was below the surface. When the hot, dry weather came, the new grass didn’t have deep, strong roots. The rest of the grass could sustain that period of drought, but the new, underdeveloped grass couldn’t.
Our hearts are the same. Listen to the Lord’s words through the prophet Jeremiah.
“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.’”
– Jeremiah 17:5-6
The person who trusts in himself or the ways of humanity has turned away from the Lord. Without relying on God, whatever strength he can muster in his own flesh is all the strength he has. That person is like a shrub in the desert. Life is hard for the shrub in the desert. He won’t see any good come in his life. The person relying on himself ends up suffering through life like he’s living in a dry wilderness, an uninhabited salt land with no water. A shrub won’t grow and thrive without water and neither will we.
But there is another way. Listen to what Jeremiah says next.
“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
When a person puts all his trust in the Lord, he is blessed, happy, flourishing. He’s like a tree that’s planted by a flowing stream. The tree grows tall and healthy because it has strong roots that go deep and wide, soaking up the lifegiving water from the stream. When the season of drought comes – and it will come – and the rain stops and the heat gets unbearable, that person is not afraid. He is not anxious, because in the midst of the hard times above the ground, his strength comes from those roots below the ground. The roots have a steady supply of refreshing, life-sustaining water. His strength is in the Lord, and so he does not cease to bear fruit.
It is relatively easy to remain green and healthy when it’s raining. But what about when the drought comes? We will all face times of intense heat with no rain. Where is your strength? In whom are you trusting? When those hard times come, you won’t survive without water, so plant yourself by the stream. Trust in the Lord.