Often unexpected circumstances take us where we do not want to go. Yet the resulting blessings of acceptance form a beautiful bouquet of complimentary colors—a mixture of divine faithfulness and human surrender.
Recently, I wrestled with acceptance of a situation that was causing me consternation; I was challenged to trust God during a directional change I was not prepared to take. I wanted to scream, “Wait, Lord, I’m not ready to move on.”
Then an unexpected comment appeared on my blog:
“Hi, I found your website by looking for a picture of a tree by a river. The picture you took of a willow tree by the river is what came up.
Would you be willing to allow us to print a 17 X 22 copy of that photo for use in our church for one year?
I would like to include a Bible verse – Jeremiah 17:7-8 – with it and hang it in the church. One of our themes for this year is trusting the Lord and this is exactly the picture that Jeremiah gives of a person who places his trust in God…”
When I read this request and then looked up the scripture, Jeremiah 17:7-8, I knew a spiritual message had come my way:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.
As I read the scriptures, an awareness overwhelmed me. The promise of fruitfulness only had one condition: “whose trust is the Lord.” I realized, in that moment, that no human being can create fruitfulness in me; the source is spiritual in nature, so not dependent upon circumstances or people.
And then the rush of serenity followed: I don’t have to be afraid of changes outside of my control. I just have to trust in His trustworthy character.
Yes, often we are not privy to the ways and plans of God. We can get so attached to the last direction we pursued that the sharp right turn throws us off-kilter.
Yet, it is when we trust in God’s ability to produce fruitfulness in and through us that we truly blossom.
*I have since discovered that the person requesting use of the tree is a missionary in Japan involved in church planting, so the scripture on the image will be in Japanese. God does work in mysterious ways :).