For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.  Jeremiah 17:8

Listen to: Does Your Happiness Have Roots?

Imagine a large and beautiful, shade-giving tree from your past, one that holds good memories. I remember two in particular. Both were trees that I spent hours swinging from on swings that hung from a sturdy branch high above.  Jeremiah 17:8 reminds me of something I learned in school. Think of your tree. The root system of a tree generally equals what we see above ground. Today I would tell you this is true of people too.

In my quest to encourage the ladies I teach, I add a short encouragement each time to the lesson. This strengthens and stabilizes foundations. It feeds the root system. The encouragements are always drawn from the Bible – Living Water. What makes you happy? What destroys your happiness? Do your moods fluctuate?  When your happiness level is determined by what is going on around you, this is a sign that your roots have not grown deep. Storms or draughts cause you to falter.

Three principles of this verse are:

  1. A tree with good roots can withstand heat.
  2. A tree with a good root system can tolerate prolonged periods of drought.
  3. A tree with good roots will continue bearing fruit during a drought.

The tree spoken of in Jeremiah 17:8 is planted by water. It tells us the roots are spread out by the river. These roots are receiving as much water as required. Likewise, we must be planted by the Living Water in order to meet our requirements. When we face sorrow and devastation in our life this is not the time to begin looking to be filled with hope and joy. If sadness is what draws you to Living Water, then by all means begin drinking, take your fill but don’t leave. Settle there and begin to grow deeper, stronger roots.

Those of us that have endeavored to stay near “water” on a regular basis are better able to withstand the trials of life, or the heat. We have all been under fire, a phrase that we all understand. Heat definitely dries up reserves of water.

Life can be hard and you don’t always have time to recover from one trauma until two more are coming at you. Life has sweet and happy moments too, but some days life’s hard realities smother them. Be prepared. it takes time, but it is the only way. Our “weaponry” must be cared for and it will take care of us. I know it. I just know it. By the time you have reached sixty, you know that you have done very well handling some of life’s trials. You ace the issues thrown at you and they will be merely a blip on your scale and you deeply know that it could have gone the other way. I think of my Bible almost as a secret weapon. It refers to itself as a Sword. Having an intimate relationship with its Author means you are “in.” He’s got you covered. If we believed that, there would be no dry spells. Being all-too-human we fail but we are not failures. We are more than conquerors, through Christ Who loves us. (refer to Romans 8:37)

We need to be able to withstand trials and maintain a level of grace. Is that reasonable for a child of God? I think it is and the Scriptures support this. Personal experience tells me it is possible. The body has a remarkable ability to heal, as does our spirit. God has created us to be resilient, to be over-comers. Well-tended roots are the best strategy for survival and handling trials. This reflects the grace of God in your life. I want to be that person; I know you do too and by being close to the “Water,” we surely can be.

It is interesting to note that a tree with a healthy root system will continue to bear fruit despite dry conditions. The pear tree beside our house gave pears every year that I can remember. Being a farm girl, I distinctly remember there were years of drought. The fields of vegetables and other crops that were planted suffered more than the pear tree. The deep roots of the pear tree were the salvation of the tree itself. They grew and strengthened over many years and so – our roots – do also. Don’t miss this point though: during droughts the trees still gave fruit. If we have so strengthened our roots of faith, then it will not matter what conditions are like in our lives, we still have the ability to yield fruit. Meditate upon that and be as encouraged as I am.

I listed three principles above that are linked to the key verse, but I want to share a fourth benefit. It is closely linked to the third benefit, but I want to expound a bit. When we feel like our lives are in a drought, but have tended to our root system, we have the ability to provide shade and comfort to others. The tree is a refuge when the sun is beating down and our skin feels as if it is cooking. We can be this comfort and refuge for others when our roots are secure and running deep, having benefited from being planted by the river.

The beauty of the Stream of Living Water is that it never goes dry. We may sense a drought in our lives but that stream is always there to replenish. (Hint: Move closer to the stream.) Consider this: When one goes without something for a prolonged time they no longer desire it, sometimes to their own detriment. Similarly, periods without drinking from the Living Water will make us lose our taste for it. We are no longer thirsty. Start today, encourage yourself in the LORD, as David did. Your happy days will be increased and you will have what it takes – Who it takes – during difficult times. 

And remember, just up from the stream … the King is in the castle! Is He in yours?

Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. Helen Keller