Tree Planted Along a Riverbank

Jeremiah 17:5-10

5This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
 who rely on human strength
  and turn their hearts away from the Lord.

6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
 with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
 in an uninhabited salty land.

7“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
 and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
  with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
 or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

9“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
 and desperately wicked.
 Who really knows how bad it is?

10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
 according to what their actions deserve.”

IMG_6031Years ago, during a Sunday morning worship service, God showed me a vision of a tree planted along a riverbank. It had incredibly long roots that were reaching deep into the water, but some of its roots were also climbing up the bank, towards a cluster of trees planted on top of the raven.

The above mentioned verse immediately came to mind when I saw the roots that reached deep into the water, but it would be many seasons later before I discovered why some of the trees root system was reaching away from its life source.

After recording a horrible sketch of the mental image in my journal, I didn’t think any more about it, until a few months ago when I was praying about moving my blogs to another site. God reminded me of that tree and when I finally dug out my old journal and flipped to the sought after page, I realized that tree was ME….with roots that are often divided.

I’ve been a follower of Jesus for nearly 15 years. In the early days of my pilgrimage, I tried to do all the “right things;” read my bible, pray (alone- NEVER in a group!), attend worship services, serve on a ministry team, join a bible study….which were all necessary disciplines that I needed to submit to, but they caused me to only know God in an intellectual sense. I was learning to love God with my mind, but my soul and strength were climbing up the riverbank towards the other trees. My desperately wicked heart was torn between surrendering my will to my Creator and surrendering to what I wanted.

Once I chose to submit to Jesus’ call to repent, my heart softened to the revelation that in order to truly love God, I must obey His commandments- all of them. In surrendering my will to His, I began to fall in love with the Lord and He began to show me the barren wildernesses of my soul. In what has been a supernatural, marvelous journey of restoration and redemption, God has retracted some of the roots that were going astray and retrained them to turn back towards His living water.

Despite life’s circumstances, when I choose to reach deep into the water and trust the Lord (not mere humans) with my life, marriage, parenting, etcetera, I am not bothered or worried by long months of drought. Instead, I am blessed AND able to remain confident that He alone is my refuge and my fortress.

Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
 for God is our refuge.

Psalm 91:1-2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
 will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
 my God, in whom I trust.”

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