October 9, 2018
“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 17:7-8 (ESV)
You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised?
They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work today and learn they are being whisked away from their desk for a surprise vacation in just a few hours. They would even love to have one of those makeover shows show up at their house with a film crew and learn they're getting a whole new wardrobe.
Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like how some people feel when a roller coaster ride they thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside-down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.
They call that fun.
I can usually manage my dislike of surprises in all the situations I mentioned.
My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.
But life is different.
Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that's what life does. Sometimes it just catches us off guard.
And at the end of the day, I guess that's why I don't like to be surprised. I can't stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.
But slowly, I'm learning it's not all bad to be surprised.
That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we can manage. Feeling a little exposed and afraid reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.
And in that gap between what we think we can manage on our own — and what we can't — is right where faith has the opportunity to grow deep roots. Roots that dig down into the hope and joy and peace only God can offer.
My faith doesn't just need to grow big … it needs to grow deep. Yes, I need deep faith roots, like the believer in Jeremiah 17:7-8, "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."
And how do we get deep roots?
We grow deep spiritual roots the same way a tree grows deep physical roots. The roots of a tree will never go through the pain and effort of digging deeper until there isn’t enough water from the surface to satisfy it. There’s water to be found in the deeper places. But the gift of going through the hardship to get to the deeper water is that deeper roots can help the tree withstand thrashing winds from bigger storms when they come.
And they will come. A tree with shallow roots is in great danger of being knocked down and taken out.
We are much the same. Shallow seeking will produce shallow believing and leave us vulnerable to falling. But deep seeking will produce deep believing and equip us to stand firm, no matter what comes against us.
Deep roots keep us secure in God's love when fear comes.
Deep roots anchor us with the truth that God is in control when surprises blow like strong, unruly winds.
Deep roots hold us steady in God’s peace during the storm that didn't show up on the radar.
Deep roots find nourishment in God's grace when the surface gets awfully dry.
Deep roots allow for growth of faith in God not previously possible.
I'm learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper to the Lord … deeper still.
Dear Lord, deep faith roots are what I desperately need. Help me take steps each day that will deepen my roots — especially when I’m having to trust You in the midst of vulnerable places. When the unexpected happens … when the winds of change blow … when the fiercest storms try to uproot me … I want to be a woman found trusting in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)
Does life look different than you hoped or expected? Stop being pulled into the anxiety of disappointment by discovering how to better process unmet expectations and other painful situations with Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. Pre-order your copy here today, and get the first three chapters immediately!
Check out Lysa’s speaking schedule here, and find out if she’s speaking in a town near you soon.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what ways does knowing that God will sustain you in hard times comfort you?
What specific steps can you take this week that will plant you firmly near the Lord? (For example, memorizing a Bible verse, praying, etc.) Join in the conversation here today, and share your next steps.
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 09 October 2018.