6 Epiphany, February 17
“Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make flesh their strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord,” says the prophet. “They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land” (Jer. 17:5-6). The heart that turns away from the Lord is deprived of its living strength, cut off from the grace of nourishment, the fuel of life, and purpose. To be sure, mere mortals are a gift of God, people and sentient beings and plant life and the earth and sky show his unseen glory, but they are not God. They have their place and they should be valued and loved in due measure, but they will never reach the need of a broken and contrite heart. For God alone my soul in silence waits.
“Happy are those,” says the Psalmist, “who do not follow the way of the wicked” (Ps. 1:1). It follows, therefore: Unhappy are those who do follow the way of the wicked and take the path of sinners and sit with scoffers and do not delight in the law of the Lord. They are like chaff that the wind drives away. A life without God is a life without life. A shrub in the desert without the relief of cool water, chaff that the wind drives away: a human life without its true source tells a tragic tale. Even a small measure of honesty will show this to be truth.
The deepest and truest source of life, however, is not far off and is never spent. “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of the drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jer. 17:7-8). Take note. Blazing heat will come, drought will arrive, and anxieties of every kind will threaten. Those who trust the Lord live in exactly the same world as everyone else. A person who trusts in Almighty God may be poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, reviled, and defamed (Luke 6:21-22). Jesus endured all these things, and he is our life and our salvation.
The difference that trust (faith) makes is often below the surface. It may or may not exhibit a strong and vital countenance. In weakness and need, in fear and trembling, it is possible to sink roots down to the stream that is the very life of God. That living stream has a name, Jesus Christ our Lord. “And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all” (Luke 6:19). Jesus Christ is the power of God in lives that are healed and yet not fully healed. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10-11).
If only somehow we may attain the resurrection of the dead. We have. Even now we are in the life of the one who made the grave a passageway to a transfigured life. We suffer with him, and we die with him. But we are rooted in life forevermore.
Look It Up
Read Luke 6:18.
Think About It
The word power has two full columns in the Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. Draw from the power of Jesus Christ.