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 17:7-8 (NIV)
Did you know the strongest trees and toughest plants are the ones with the deepest roots, and the ones that have faced the most storms? Despite the uncontrollable external forces that come against them, they are positioned in the right place to receive the nutrients they need, and their roots keep them grounded when the world around them is raging. They may bear scars from the storms, but their branches continue to produce life and thrive. Those are the plants we take a moment to stop and admire.
As I walk around Charleston, and I gaze at the big, beautiful old oak trees, I think about how they have been able to withstand hurricanes and severe weather. What could have done them in, didn’t. They stand today, beautiful as ever, for us to gaze upon and provide shade for those needing a moment of relief on a hot day.
We are a lot like those oak trees. We can either withstand the storms of life, rooted and unshakable in Jesus, or we can rely on our own “strength” and be easily uprooted and destroyed before we can even see the storm coming.
A few years ago, my mother in-law passed away unexpectedly in our home, while I was pregnant with our first child. In an instant, our lives completely changed. The moment the first responder told us the news no one wants to hear, I remember whispering through my burning tears and shock, “If not, you are still good.”
What happened in my home was not good that morning. Although God didn’t answer my prayers to heal my mother-in-law how I asked, my heart and mind did not quickly wither away. I trusted he was a good God even still.
When it’s Darkest
The truth is, that day was dark. That week was dark. That next year was dark. The storm brought quick devastation in my family. There were nights that turned into months of tears—but I kept my trust in Jesus. I knew, despite my circumstances, he was worthy, and he would see my family through.
How was it even possible to not be burned and uprooted in such a tragedy? Before the severe weather came, I had made up my mind—I fully trusted that God is good, and he does good. I tended to the soil of my heart by spending time in his presence and grounded in his Word, and I was being watered by the Living Water sourced from the Holy Spirit. The daily consistency laid a foundation that would not be easily shaken.
That day, my foundation proved secure. Jesus was faithful. He was present and held my tears. He never left. The fear of my circumstances didn’t scorch my faith, and the long, unexpected drought of grief didn’t cause me to wither over the next 13 months that followed.
As I leaned into Jesus even more, new fruit grew in my life—the kind produced when storms are raging. My trust and confidence were in the Lord. He was enough then, and I know he forever will be.
The thing about foundations is that we often don’t know if they are able to withstand the blows of storms until one comes. It can look good on the outside, but if it’s not a solid, immovable structure, the damage can be devastating in a matter of seconds. How secure is your foundation? How can you put more trust and confidence in Jesus in your daily life? When the storms come, will you be ready?