Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. 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. 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 drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse—who can understand it? I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.
Today is Thursday the 21 March in the second week of Lent.
O spring in the desert, O shelter from the heat. How are you feeling as you begin this prayer today? Do you feel like you’re in a dry, barren desert, or on lush, green, fertile, life-giving ground? Or perhaps somewhere in between? Come into the presence of God now, and enjoy that presence, the presence of your loving creator, the source of all life.
Today’s reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah.
If you’ve ever lived in a hot, dry climate, you know what a precious thing water is. You know what shrubs in the desert look like. Why does Jeremiah use this image in today’s reading? What does the “shrub in the desert” lack, that I also lack when I put my trust in “mere mortals” instead of in God?
Are there ways in which I might have “trusted in mere mortals” and made “mere flesh” my “strength”? Can I think of times when I’ve done that? – and what it felt like?
But then the prophet imagines the same hot, dry climate and gives us the picture of “a tree planted by water”, to describe those who “trust in the Lord”. Is this you? Is this how you want to be? Do you feel that you “send out your roots by the stream”? Or do you find it difficult to “trust in the Lord”?
As you listen to the reading again, and hear the Lord say to you “I, the Lord, test the mind and the heart, to give to all according to their ways”, what thoughts occur to you?
What would you like to say now to the Lord? What might God want to say to you today?