Earlier this month at Bible Study as we were going around the group sharing prayer requests I asked for prayer for clarity. I feel like my thoughts are often scattered in a million different directions and I can’t make sense of what I’m feeling. One moment I’m happy and then the next I’m sad or I’m angry. On some days I’m fulfilled and content, and on others I’m searching for purpose. The list of my opposing feelings is long, and it seems that the only thing that remains constant right now is that nothing in me is constant. This is probably why I haven’t blogged much recently–I don’t have well packaged themes to share, especially not ones that I can tie together with a pretty bow in the end.
The rest of the group shared their requests and then we prayed for one another. Afterward one our friends encouraged me to spend some time reading Psalm 1.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
The thing that speaks to my heart is the part about the tree. I see a strong tree standing tall next to a flowing river. This tree is not by the streams of water by mistake. It was planted there by someone who knew what it needed to grow. It’s a tree that is full of fruit during the summer months, but even as the winter comes and its fruit falls, its leaf does not wither. It doesn’t die in the off season; it uses that time as a time of preparation for the next harvest.
This is the tree I want to be. Blessed. Growing. Fruitful. Patient. Confident. Quenched. Satisfied.
Unfortunately I think I’ve been letting my leaves wither lately. The last 18 months in South Africa have been full of delicious fruit, especially as I look at the people around me (there is seriously so much to love about our lives here!). But for me, it has been more of a season of trials and testing and struggle. Even as SA is experiencing a major drought right now, I feel like my spirit is parched. In the deep places of my heart I find myself longing for a place and for people and for the comforts of home. I miss our old life. And I think that’s ok. It’s ok that I’m homesick. It’s ok that this place still feels foreign to me. What’s not ok as I read this Psalm is that I allow this season to kill the fruit and the leaves on the tree that God has planted. He has planted me here, for this season, next to His rivers of life. And so I will drink.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14