They will be like a tree planted by the water. Jeremiah 17:8
“The wind is tossing the lilacs.” With that opening line of her springtime poem “May,” poet Sara Teasdale captured a vision of lilac bushes waving in gusty breezes. But Teasdale was lamenting a lost love, and her poem soon turned sorrowful.
Our backyard lilacs also encountered a challenge. After having their most lush and beautiful season, they faced the axe of a hard-working lawn man who “trimmed” every bush, chopping them to stubs. I cried. Then, three years later—after barren branches, a bout of powdery mildew, and my faithless plan to dig them up—our long-suffering lilacs rebounded. They just needed time, and I simply needed to wait for what I couldn’t see.
The Bible tells of many people who waited by faith despite adversity. Noah waited for delayed rain. Caleb waited forty years to live in the promised land. Rebekah waited twenty years to conceive a child. Jacob waited seven years to marry Rachel. Simeon waited and waited to see the baby Jesus. Their patience was rewarded.
In contrast, those who look to humans “will be like a bush in the wastelands” (Jeremiah 17:6). Poet Teasdale ended her verse in such gloom. “I go a wintry way,” she concluded. But “blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,” rejoiced Jeremiah. “They will be like a tree planted by the water” (vv. 7–8).
The trusting stay planted in God—the One who walks with us through the joys and adversities of life.
What do you know about God that stirs your trust in Him? How will you plant your trust deeper in His steadying soil?
Heavenly Father, when my life feels barren or buffeted by stiff winds, please plant me deeper in Your steadying love.
During the time of the prophet Jeremiah’s writings (627–586 bc), Judah was surrounded by the powerful nations of Egypt and Assyria and the growing nation of Babylon. Thus, Judah attempted to make alliances in order to protect their nation. But God wanted the people to trust in Him for their strength and security. In Jeremiah 17:5–8, the prophet provided a sharp contrast between those who look to humanity for their help and those who trust in God alone. He used three metaphors to describe the fate of those who turn away from God: a bush in the desert, parched places, and an uninhabited, salt-covered land. Such people’s lives would be dry, lonely, and withered. But as the psalmist declared in Psalm 1:3, those who trust in God would be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.”