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 17:8
I woke the other morning to a text message: Check BBC. There have been bombings in Brussels.
It was from my husband traveling on business and in a time zone ahead of me.
It included a link to the BBC News web site. I read with horror about two explosions at the international airport and one at the metro station and saw gruesome pictures of bloodied travelers.
I pleaded with my heavenly Father for protection.
Is she safe? I texted to my friend—concerned for her daughter studying on a semester abroad in Brussels.
Only four months earlier, I sat across the table from my friend at Joe’s American Grill. “Has Gabi chosen her placement yet?” I asked excitedly. London had been on the list and I wanted to know if she would be visiting my old stomping ground.
I saw the strain on my friend’s face and fear in her eyes. “Brussels” she said. I didn’t know what to say.
Brussels was on lock down that very moment following attacks in Paris.
“You’re more of an international traveler than me,” she continued. “Would you let her go?” She appealed to me—one mother to another.
I had to think long and hard before I answered.
I had lived through IRA terror campaigns and bombings in London. How did my own mother cope with me there? I wondered.
My daughter would be going to Hong Kong in a few months time. Would I let her go, if it were Brussels?
How would an answer of “don’t let her go” affect my friend’s family and her daughter who had set her heart on a European adventure.
This crisis could be resolved in four months time. Or…it could get worse.
Now, with hindsight, I had my answer.
How can we live assured in an uncertain and turbulent world?
How do we become like the tree that 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?
We find our answer in the words of the previous verse: trust in the Lord and have confidence in him.
Trusting in God during the storm is not easy but it is easier if we practice trusting when our world is tranquil and calm.
We use the quiet, still times in our lives to be nourished and grow strong so when the storm hits we are not uprooted.
So what does trust in the Lord and confidence in him look like during an ordinary day?
Psalm 1:3 also uses similar wording to our verse in Jeremiah 17 and in the previous two verses we find out what we need to do and not do so we can stand firm.
Hold onto God’s Word and his promises.
That person delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on his law day and night.
Chew on Scripture day and night, says The Message.
All very well, but most of us are busy. But, there are simple ways to do this. I have a calendar that contains one Bible verse for each day. I read that verse each morning and it’s a nugget of God’s truth to think about and begin my day. An alternative is Bible Gateway. It has a Verse of the Day on its home page.
We need to weave God’s Word into our day at every opportunity we can.
Psalm 1 also tells us what we should not do when a storm is looming.
Do not hold out on God’s Word and his promises.
That person does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.
Now, I’m not saying we should shun our non-Christian friends. But we don’t think or speak the same as those who do not know God.
We who know God’s mercy should believe in God’s goodness, not question it. We believe God is good, so we do not blame him when bad things to happen. We do not turn our back on our heavenly Father because it looks like he doesn’t care. We know he does care.
But if you do doubt, bring these questions to God in prayer during your still, quiet moments when your world is calm.
Go deep with God so your roots are strong. Then, when the squall or the hurricane comes you can defy its force and stand bold.
Use the verses to meditate on God’s promises of protection. Reading them in context on Bible Gateway may help you go a little deeper.
Which of these promises give you the most confidence in troubled times?
How stable are your roots? Are you going deep with God to keep them strong?
How will you make a commitment to read, listen, and think about God’s words in the Bible?
How does bringing your doubt to God in prayer help you put down roots?