Read Jeremiah 17-5:10.

They shall be like a tree planted by water. (Jeremiah 17:8)

Does God really care for us? We are abused. We get cancer. We die in car accidents. We live in war-torn countries and are oppressed and exiled. We are poor and don’t have enough food. We die as babies, of sickness or accident or malice. Is God really working all things to our benefit? O Lord, where are you? Why do you not come to my aid?

Salvation is by faith. I sometimes wonder if the word faith would be better translated trust in this context. “Having faith” has come more or less to mean believing something for which you have no evidence (or “believing what you know ain’t so,” according to Mark Twain). But having faith in this sense certainly doesn’t save; after all, the devils see the truth about Jesus.

In Jeremiah 17:5-10, they are cursed who trust in mere mortals, in the things of this world, in armies or countries or guns or education or health insurance or retirement accounts or status. They live in a parched land, a place with no water. They live in an uninhabited land—they are alone.

Those who trust the Lord are “like a tree planted by water,” ever nourished invisibly, flourishing and growing in the bright sunshine, bearing much fruit. They are still in that dry land, still beaten down upon by the sun, but they are supported and nourished in such a way that the bright sun causes them not to wither but to grow and blossom and bear fruit. To those who trust in created things, that bright sunshine looks like pain and suffering and death. To those who trust in the Lord, it may be painful but it is life and growth. It is the crucible of heavenly love.

According to Jeremiah, salvation is by trust. O Lord, search my heart. Burn away any trust in the things of this world. Help me to trust you in everything.

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Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of and