“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.'” (Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV)
Sometimes when we’re driving across the United States the landscape is all brown and dry. Maybe we’re driving through desert, or maybe it’s farmland, but the harvest is over, and nobody’s irrigating the fields right now.
And then on the horizon we see a row of trees. It doesn’t take long to learn what that means! There’s a river there, though we can’t see it yet. The trees don’t care that there hasn’t been rain for months; they’re green and growing, and taller than anything else around. The river is their invisible means of support.
The Lord is like that for us Christians. There are times—way too many times!—when our lives are dry and brown. Sometimes we’re dealing with health problems, or the death of a loved one; sometimes it’s difficult times like joblessness or losing a home. And sometimes it’s those drab gray times that seem to come for no reason at all—times when we don’t feel God’s presence, and maybe we don’t feel much of anything else, either—little joy, little energy, just days that mean putting one foot in front of another, doing what we have to do, until a new day comes, and we start all over again.
Nobody likes those times. And yet every Christian has them. What support do we have when the hard times come?
Just this—the Lord, our strength and our Savior. He is the One who was born into this world to save us, to live and to die and to rise again, all to make us His own. He has called us and baptized us and given us faith in Him, and we live because of Him—whether we’re feeling it or not. We live off of Him, if I can use that metaphor—the same way that a tree lives off the water that reaches its roots, deep underground where nobody can see it, not even the tree itself. The connection is invisible—but the result is not. Those trees stand tall and green, even in the deepest drought.
Jesus is your support. It doesn’t matter if you’re not feeling it—I doubt trees “feel” the water at their roots all the time, either! But you are connected to Him, and He to you—and His life flows through you. Jesus is your Strength and your life, and He will see you through.
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember and rely on You, my life and my strength. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on February 8, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Have you ever lived through a drought or dry season? What was it like?
2. Have you lived through a dry season in your personal life? What was that like?
3. How do you draw on Jesus’ life when everything around you seems dead?