Source of Strength and Comfort
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
This past July 4th weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Mall of America again. I went there because my two kids were bored at home. They wanted to do something fun and exciting. So we decided to go to Hmong Village, a marketplace, in St. Paul to eat some Hmong delicacy and authentic food. Then we went from there to the Mall of America.
The Mall had changed so much since it was built. There were many changes, new scenes and new variety of stores, and more scary rides in the Nickelodeon Park, which now is called Nickelodeon Universe. I don’t like going to the Mall very much or to get on any of the scary rides at the Nickelodeon Universe, but my two kids were having a blast on those rides. I used to take them there and ride with them. Now that I am no longer young, I do not like the up and down, the deep fall and twist of those rides. Something could happen. They frighten me and give me fears and worries. I could get hurt or even have a heart attack.
Are you fearful or living with worries these days? Life is filled with ups and downs, twists and falls, like a rolling coaster ride. Where do you draw your strength or your breath at those fearful moments? Who do you turn to when things get tough? The word of God came to Jeremiah at the time that life was difficult and filled with worries. The rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer. On top of that, the country was torn apart in war. People were doubtful of their daily survival, and they turned to other gods and other nations for help. Sadly, God was not the one who they turned to.
Let’s not forget to turn to God when life is tough. I give thanks that we have someone whom we can always count on in difficult times… our God. God is always there for us, not only in times of joy, but all the time. God gives us strength because God is our primary source of strength, our stream and river, our rock, our refuge and our redeemer. May God’s words through Jeremiah remind us that we who “trust in the LORD, whose confidence is in him, we will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream… its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” These words describe who we really are. May they be our strength and comfort as we live and overcome all the “droughts” of life.
Lord, you are the Lord of life and the Lord of our strength and comfort. You are like a river that provides water each day so that we, like a tree, can always be green and bear fruit. Give us strength today, and help us to turn to you every day, not just in time of need and difficulty, that we may become your water and bear good fruit for others who are fearful and worried these days. Amen.