“But blessed are those who trust 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 (NLT)
This was a great reminder I came across today. The Bible often uses similes like the one above to make comparisons in this life to the natural world around us. Never did God promise those who follow Him that life will be easy. Never did he say that there wouldn’t be any trouble in this life. In fact, Jesus told us we will indeed have trouble:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 (NIV)
Many believers before us have faced much greater persecution and difficult trials compared to even what we are facing now. But there is a way to live in victory. There is a way to live without fear or worry. In Jesus, we can have true peace in our hearts.
The prophet Jeremiah lived through four of the most tumultuous decades in his country’s history. Jerusalem was put under siege and captured by the Babylonians. Later, the entire country of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians and many people were carried off to be slaves in a foreign land. Despite God sending his people into exile, through His prophet, Jeremiah, he assured them that if they trust in Him, then they would prosper and thrive. While those around him despaired, Jeremiah trusted God. He prophesied of the new covenant to come (Jeremiah 31:31-34) that would supersede the Mosaic covenant. The new covenant “will be written on their hearts” and God’s people “will all know Him” alluding to Jesus’ death on the cross and the coming of God’s Spirit to dwell in the hearts of His children.
The world and its trouble is always swirling around us, but instead of getting caught up in the cyclone, we can trust God. The Apostle Paul gives believers the perfect way to respond when life’s troubles seem overwhelming, stressful, or all-consuming:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Get in the habit of praying about everything. In every situation that seems like it is too much, pray, ask God where He is at work in the situation. Ask Him for wisdom, “God, what should I do?” Instead of catastrophizing about everything that could happen or being obsessed with hypotheticals fueled by fear, lay it down at God’s altar, at the feet of Jesus:
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
We live in some uncertain times. It seems like what we knew and what were comfortable with was taken away and we got stuck with all this mess we are in right now. It is unclear what the next steps are and what path lies ahead at this point. We can lay all of that down before Jesus. “God take all this uncertainty. I trust you. I know that you are still in control and you are there with me and you are for me. I trust your plans for my life and my future.”
When we put our lives and our future in the hands of God, we can experience true peace. We trust God and His character that He has proved to us over and over before. That same God can and will get us through this. And because we stop worrying about those things outside of our control we can move on with our lives to more important things that we can control. We can do our best with the task before us in our workplace, with our family, in our community and we will continue to be fruitful in each of those areas. We can thrive in spite of our circumstances and overcome.
Be encouraged friends! Trust God and you will see real transformation in your lives. You will experience God’s fruitful abundance.