I’ve always loved weeping willow trees, especially ones right beside a body of water. Their sprawling branches with drooping clusters of green leaves rustling in a gentle breeze yields a serene type of scenery that I find breathtaking. Actually, I love pretty much any type of tree by a river bank! There’s just something calming about the combination of a tree and a river.
I came across a wonderful passage of Scripture recently that speaks to this very theme: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but it’s leaf will be green, and it will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
The Bible says that trusting and hoping in God is kind of like a tree that’s planted by the waters. The root system beneath the tree is underground, invisible to the naked eye; but is drawing water, nutrients and sustenance from the river. In the same way, our “faith and trust” in the Lord is an internal, supernatural work of God’s Spirit that is often invisible externally. And yet faith and trust in God is like a root system that connects us with the River of Life.
Although a tree by the water is “separate” from the river itself, the root system underneath the ground connects the tree with the soil that’s being watered by the river. During a drought, when everything else in the vicinity is dry and brown, a tree planted by a body of water will continue to flourish and blossom. Likewise, there are times in life where it may look like and feel like we are far from God—separate—from Him; but the root system of faith and trust keeps us connected to the Living Water.
This passage says, “it will not be anxious in the year of drought.” Spiritually dry times are inevitable. Seasons in life when the bottom drops out and we don’t sense God’s presence are going to take place. But when we trust in God’s sovereignty (even when we don’t understand His ways), that root system of faith will bring us a peace that passes understanding.
I’m trying to envision myself as a tree beside a river this week! As I trust God and stand on His Word, I’m inviting my “roots” to suck in that Living Water. Whether I feel disconnected or not, the fact of the matter is that the Holy Spirit, the River that Jesus spoke of (John 7:38), eternally connects me with God’s heaven’s supernatural strength and sustaining power.