We all have hard seasons in our lives. In these desert places, sometimes there is some thing we are waiting for and want, like a career change or people to connect with. Or, there is some thing we are living with that we don’t want, like illness or a difficult relationship. We hope and pray things change quickly. But when it doesn’t, how can we live and love well in that season?
I’ve been thinking about how God is life-giving in the midst of stress, suffering, and the various hard things we often experience. Jeremiah 17:5-8, the “parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land” makes me think of alkali flats, an area near my home.
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.
“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.”
The question is, where do we put our trust? If we put our trust in ourselves, other people, or whatever thing we want, we are like the “shrub in the desert.” None other than God is sufficient and can sustain us.
In contrast to the sagebrush, the cottonwood is a “tree planted by the water.” It is a sign of water in the desert, since these trees only grow where there is an abundant source of water. God is our abundant source of living water, and staying connected in relationship with Him is what can enable us to live and love well through any season.
I imagine the roots of these cottonwood trees spreading out under the ground, unseen, drinking in the water from the Virgin River. Similarly, unseen, our hearts can connect with God in life-giving ways in the desert places of our lives. As we pray, remember Him, meditate on a piece of His word, and listen to His Spirit within us we can receive living water from God. His Spirit refreshes us in very real ways.
Our hearts learn to trust Him in these hard seasons. We grow to delight in God rather than any other thing we desire. We are trees planted by the Living Water, with roots going deep finding refreshment in Him. We need not fear. He is sufficient so we can thrive and bear good fruit!
What is the desert (the hard season or thing) in your life?
What is your heart drawn to trust?
How will you put down roots into the Living Water?
Kathryn Featherstone is a certified Christian Life Coach by the Board of Christian Life Coaches. She is trained by Gallup for coaching with CliftonStrengths assessment and resources. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or see her Coaching page.