Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Like A Tree Planted

            I don’t know how to respond to people lately when they ask me how I am doing. I don’t want to be that Christian that always seems to have some sort of drama happening in their life, some trial or trouble or issue that makes people sorry they asked how I am doing. I don’t want to sound ungrateful either, because I know I am blessed beyond belief. But I am going to be completely honest and tell you that these past few months have just sucked! I have found myself in more spiritual battles then I have ever wanted to be. I have had troubles on every side and some days I wonder if I am ever going to catch a break! If it’s not my business under attack, or my relationship with the Lord being tested, it’s my grown children dragging their drama into my house. Some days I just want to run away and hide in the cleft of the rocks where no one can call me, text me, or message me. I want to be so hidden away that not even smoke signals can be seen! But the truth is, that is not possible. I can’t just run away.
            One of the things that always amazes me about my God is how He can take something I saw a few weeks ago, bring into my remembrance and teach me from it. The other day I was praying and crying out to the Lord about some areas in my life that are scaring me. I admit it- I was afraid. I was afraid of what might happen. I was afraid of the consequences if I obeyed Him. I was afraid that if I did what was right it was going to bring on me another storm that I am just not sure I can fight right now.
As I was praying He reminded me of a tree that I sat down next to on my hike through Eno River State Park a few weeks ago. This tree has been growing along that riverbank for a very long time. Its branches were massive and its canopy was full and vibrant. The base of the tree was so big I couldn’t get my arms around it, even the roots which ran down into the ground were large and gave me a good place to rest and relax next to the peaceful sounds of the river.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked; nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of living water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.”
 Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
Tree I sat under at Eno River State Park, NC
That tree was rooted and planted very firmly next to the Eno River. But what I noticed, what the Lord brought to my remembrance, was that the roots were not just planted, they were deep down under the rushing waters of the river and were deep into the foundation of the riverbank itself. As my eyes followed these roots they travelled up under the water. The reason why this tree was so vibrant and so alive was because the roots were planted in the solid foundation of the earth, beneath the river above. This tree was not going to be moved or destroyed by the storms above it or the rapids of the river around it because its roots were deep in the foundation of the earth.
This Christian life is hard. It requires obedience. Obedience is hard and can be fearful because we do not know what the consequences are going to be. We know that God calls us to live a life of obedience, but what if by obeying Him we lose our families, our jobs, our careers, our homes? What if our obedience to God causes a storm to rage in our lives? What if my disobedience to God makes that storm even worse?
As I sat there next to that tree I didn’t know the truth that God would have for me. I saw the roots and didn’t think much of it. But as my life creeped back in and the raging waters started to overtake me again, I drew comfort from what I remembered. No matter what happens in my life, no matter what tries to overtake me, no matter how fast the waters rage over me, my roots are deep and firmly planted in His foundation. Like that tree I will flourish because I am firmly planted in Him. Like that tree I will not be moved because my roots have been tested and tried and have not been forsaken. I have experienced droughts before but because my roots are under the waters I will not thirst. I have experienced storms before but because my roots are firmly planted in the soil I have not been destroyed. Not then, not now, not ever.
I do not need to fear, nor do I need to be dismayed because the Lord my God is with me and He is holding my roots in the very depths of His soil. Nothing, not even the waters rushing over me can snatch me from His hands. He is not only my Rock, but He is the very earth that holds me and causes me to flourish in spite of all that is around me. He is my God.
I am reminded every time the fears begin to rise within me, that my roots are deep and my tree is firmly planted. I will prosper because He will prosper me. I will not thirst because He sustains me. I am a tree planted by streams of living water that yields it fruit in season and my leaf will not wither, because my roots are deep. Amen.

I pray today that these words will encourage you to not fear. God calls us to live in obedience to Him; not to man, nor to the demands of this life, but to Him and His word. Take comfort and courage from the truth that you are a tree firmly planted and that even though the waters are raging and the winds are slashing through your branches, you will not, nor can you ever be moved. Dig those roots in deep my friend and know that He will not let anything ever snatch you out of His hands. May God give you courage to face the day. In Jesus Name. Amen.