“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
I returned this week from a wonderful solitude retreat spent in the beauty of the changing colours of fall in Northern Ontario. My take away – I need to do this at least three times a year. The silence of the forest was so profound, the sound of birds singing and the rustle of leaves in the wind, refreshing to the soul.
I went thinking perhaps that I would gain fresh revelation and perhaps have a new and deeper encounter with Gods’ Spirit, but what I actually found was that God wanted to deal with my expectations. I realize that I was trying to box God in. Here I am, Lord, I have five days of total solitude so hit me with whatever you have for me to understand!
I’m reminded of Elijah in I Kings 19:11-13
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him.
And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain.
It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose,
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.
And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Expectations. God challenges therm.
At times I have complained loudly to God about having to lower my expectations. I am someone who has high expectations, of myself and others. This of course has effects not only personally but on those around me, even in my relationship with God. For twenty years God has been challenging me in this area. What can I say, other than I’m a slow learner!
When our expectations exceed that of those around us, we find ourselves in conflict. Now I’m not suggesting you get rid of all expectations. I’m thinking of how our expectations need to be in line with reality. We don’t expect a toddler to cook, nor an adolescent to run a million dollar business. But, often our expectations regarding our relationship with God are not in line with His plan or purpose. We want to have God serve us, rather than the other way around.
So what did I learn? I learned once again the importance of contentment. The significance of trust and confidence in the Lord. He is our Rock. And I learned again that If we can ‘simply’ trust God in all situations, but especially through the storms of uncertain times that truly we will be like that tree planted by the water, whose roots are nourished abundantly. Having no fear when heat comes; it remains healthy in all seasons and It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
Most of all I learned to rest. A tree doesn’t struggle trying to uproot itself and move to a new location. It stands firm and grows, planting it’s roots so deeply it cannot be pulled out.
May our roots go deep and may the fruit of our labour increase.
Stand Firm Walk Cautiously Live Courageously