At sixteen, I knew everything. The typical teenager who didn’t need to rely on her parent’s thinking or their values. The saddest part was my rejection of their Christian values. If someone asked what I believed in, I would tell them I believed in people and the goodness of people.
I hear those gasps of horror. I feel my gasp of horror as I look back on that time in my life. The next few years were not a good time for me. Although I had never made a commitment to become a Christian, I still knew some of God’s word, and deep down knew what I was doing was wrong.
My choice, and I believe the choice many make, was based on growing up in a community of people who were willing to reach out to others in need. If your family suffered a tragedy, be prepared for the onslaught of food and help with what you need. My family, especially my parents, was quick to jump in and help out other people.
Appreciating giving people is a good thing. Learning from their sacrifice can also be beneficial. However, believing in the goodness of mankind can start a downward spiral, when that belief replaces trust and faith in God.
“Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5
What happens when a person trusts in mankind instead of trusting in God? When they rely on the strength of the flesh? “For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.” Jeremiah 17:6
Having been a desert dweller for years—and I love the desert—I can attest to the difficult conditions. It’s hard to grow when water is scarce. You are so focused on survival it’s hard to see the small blessings that come your way. You feel isolated and alone. Sapped of energy and spirit.
I remember the day I came across this scripture and realized how true the passage was for the way my life had been. By that time, my focus had changed, and I’d become a Christian, trusting in God and growing in my faith.
Then I read on and realized God had more in store for those who trust Him. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7 Oh, how wonderful it is to be truly blessed by the Lord.
And, what happens to this person who trust in the Lord? “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
Doesn’t that sound refreshing? Think of the green growth by a river, the lush plants, the tall trees. They are plugged in to the source of life, the water they need to survive in tough times.
Likewise, those who choose to trust in the Lord, who don’t “make flesh their strength” will be plugged in to the source of life too. We will have access to the living water. During times of drought or disease or hardship, we have the life-giving support we need.
I am so glad I realized the error of my thinking and placed my trust and faith in God. Yes, I still face hardship in my life, but now I have a support that doesn’t waver. There is no need to fear what is coming. The fruit that springs forth when the focus in on God and His word is beautiful.