Connections Fall 2021
21-22 School Year Theme
Deep roots drawing sustenance from the source of life—this is the difference between the tree that remains securely planted and the tree that topples over or is blown away by the wind.
The prophet Jeremiah lived in one of the most chaotic time periods in all of biblical history. Living in Jerusalem on the verge of its destruction by the Babylonians, he described the turbulent age he was experiencing as “times of distress.”
Does that sound familiar to anyone? Though Jeremiah’s context was very different from our own, he knew the challenges of living with so much uncertainty, conflict, division, and fear. One of the great questions Jeremiah addresses is: How are the people of God supposed to live in such times of distress?
Instead of offering just words of wisdom, Jeremiah gives us an image. Images have the power to capture an idea by tapping into our imaginations, and are almost always more memorable than mere words or facts. And so Jeremiah gives his weary audience one of the most enduring biblical images as an explanation of a better way to endure in “times of distress.” He writes,
“Blessed are those who trust 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).
Deep roots drawing sustenance from the source of life—this is the difference between the tree that remains securely planted and the tree that topples over or is blown away by the wind. Psalm 1 uses this exact image when describing the kind of person who delights in the law of the LORD. “That person,” the psalmist says, “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.”