Read Psalm 1.
There are two massive ash trees in my front yard. They are on either side of the house; the one on the right sits outside our living room window, while the one on the left is adjacent to our bedroom. Their long, wispy branches tower well above the roof of the house; reaching so high that you can see them from virtually any angle on our block.
These trees are great and looming; they provide both a welcomed canopy of shade from the sun all the while threatening to wipe out our home with the onset of any thunderstorm. With every midnight storm I inevitably wake with a fearful start, my mind polluted with such convincing imagery that the tree on the left will come crashing through my bedroom wall, destroying both our home and our lives at any given moment. Yet every morning after, I wake with awe and amazement at how established and deeply rooted those trees actually are. While branches and twigs may be scattered throughout the yard, the trunks have not been moved. They are strong, sturdy and unwavering. And why wouldn't they be? They've been planted in that ground for over thirty years, maturing and growing stronger with each passing season.
I am a worrier by nature; my mind wanders from fear to fear, almost like it's looking for things to be anxious about. What if something happens to one of my children? What if I lose my husband? What if I get sick? What if I don't really belong to God? What if our car breaks down? What if someone breaks in? What if, what if, what if.
Every day my mind battles thoughts such as these, and I imagine my faith to be like the branches on my trees. Is my hope in God just as thin and wispy? Does it just appear to be big and mighty, or will it easily snap and falter? Will my faith crack at the onset of any storm? Will it be scattered on the ground? Will I be left to pick up the pieces? I wonder if my faith would be able to survive the smallest of trials, much less the big ones that life will inevitably bring.
And yet, Psalm 1 redirects my understanding of both my faith and the tree. It takes my eyes off of the branches and moves them to the trunks. The scriptures remind me that when my faith and delight are in the Lord, when I immerse myself in His word, when I hope in Him and trust in His promises, that I am like those huge and mammoth tree trunks in my own front yard. Not broken and detached like the sticks and leaves that the wind easily drives away, but firmly rooted, well nourished, abundant in fruit, and unwavering.
Believer, the Lord is our delight. His word and His promises stand true. He is our shade and protection. He is our refreshment, relief, and nourishment. He takes our weak faith and makes it strong and He upholds us through life's weathered and trying seasons. He sanctifies and grows and matures us in time, promising to refine our faith into that like the image of a sturdy and deeply rooted tree. In Him, we will not falter. Blessed are we who delight in Him.
-- Courtney Hofmann