Roots and the riverbank

Blessed are those who trusts in the Lord, and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 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.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

One of the main tenets of any relationship is trust. And this is also true for my, and our relationships with God. God calls those who trust in Him as blessed. Trusting in God means putting our hope and confidence in Him. And the way that such a relationship can be nurtured is to be like a tree planted by the riverbank. That is a good analogy of how trust in our relationship with God can be accomplished.

Let’s take a walk along the calming river. The sun is shining brightly, but we can’t feel the heat. The tall trees with their big crown of branches and leaves shading us from the sun rays. The soil is crunching beneath our shoes. We sit on one of the big roots peeking out of the soil. The clear water flows down the river in front of us. We reach out to touch. It feels cold and refreshing.

Those are what we can see. What we don’t see is underground. How extensive and deep reaching their roots are. It is because of the roots that these trees are surviving, no, thriving! From the dark, unobservable soil, the roots take in the nutrients, water as they continue to go deeper, entrenching itself deep into the soil, making the tree sturdier and stronger. It is in the secret, the private, the unseen that life for the tree flourishes.

Doesn’t this sound similar to our lives as well? Many times we only observe what we can see of others and ourselves, but our true foundation of our strength and faith happens in the secret, the private, the unseen on the outside. It is during our daily devotion and prayer spent with the Lord that we get our “nutrients”, our daily bread. It is here that our relationship with God gets stronger, where we can be completely honest and true to the Lord, and grow in Him. The more we devote to our relationship with the Lord, the more intimate and deep our relationship becomes. We learn about who He is, who He made us to be, His promises and word during the seasons of our lives, His direction and guidance on specific situations and obstacles that we face, His heartbeat for us, our cities, our world. It is here that we are constantly being changed and renewed. And just as the roots reach deeper out to the water, we reach out and get closer to the source of life – God. All these are formed in the secret and the private. It is not seen from the outside or by others.

Only with a strong foundation (or in this case, “root system”) that we are able to weather the storms of life. The trees along the riverbank face heat and long periods of drought, but they are not bothered or worried by these. Likewise, we will face the harshness of the world, of the troubles, trials and tribulations that come our way. Even in the heat of things or long periods of drought where life becomes dry and barren, if we have this strong root system, rooted in God and the source of our lives, we will become like these trees, not bothered or worried about such things.

Instead of wilting or dying, the leaves of these trees remain green and they even went on to continue producing fruits! So the promise is that when we continue to be rooted in God and hang onto Him, we not only will survive such weather conditions, but will even continue to thrive and be fruitful! It is not a picture of despair or barrenness. It is a picture of abundance, fruitfulness and fertility. It is overflowing with life. The external circumstances of the heat and drought does not threaten our existence; we will instead thrive and even become victorious and fruitful to Him!

One last thing to take note: in times of troubles and sufferings where the heat and pressure start to become overwhelming, or in times of dryness and barrenness, the Lord may not deliver or remove us from it. Just like these trees are not sheltered from the heat or the periods of drought, we will face such circumstances and they may not end so quickly. Instead, we have the promise that we will continue to live and thrive under such circumstances. It is a journey of enduring, persevering through these periods by relying, depending, believing and living from our relationship with God. We can always find the refreshing, cool, life-giving love, strength and promises from God through our private and secret daily devotion with Him.

That, is the picture of trust in our relationship with God. It holds the promise of thriving and being fruitful. This is why all who trust in the Lord, who put their hope and confidence in Him, are called blessed.

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