SECOND WEEK OF LENT
Thursday, March 16
Mary Grace Ilardi
FOCUS Team Leader
Man Who Trusts in Man
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
- Jeremiah 17:8
It seems as though we learn the same lessons over and over again in life. It is as though we forget what we know, and need to learn it again and again. This is certainly true for me with trusting the Lord. I have experienced what Jeremiah describes in the case of the “man who trusts in man.” He says that person is like a “shrub in the desert,” dwelling in the “parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” This is what I feel like when I look to myself and the world for approval, security, and affirmation of my identity. For a while, it seems like my plans will work and that I can sustain happiness without God. But it is not long until I begin to lose steam, question the decisions I am making and the direction I am going in. I feel confused and inadequate and even feel loneliness, hopelessness, and despair. Talk about “parched places in the wilderness!”
What is God’s will for my life? He wants me to feel secure in Him, confident that my needs will be provided for and that I will be guided where I need to go. He wants me to find refreshment, to be free of fear and anxiety, to bear good fruit in my life and to be a blessing for others. These are the fruits of choosing, every day and every hour, to be dependent on God. I need to look to Him for approval, for my sense of safety and security, and for affirmation of my identity. This Lent, I want to deny myself things that will increase my awareness of how quickly I tend to look to worldly things to bring me comfort, security, etc. By doing so, I have an opportunity to choose, again, to place my trust in the Lord who brings me life.
This is what came to me when I prayed with Jeremiah 17 and Psalm 1:1-6. Put your trust in Me. Put all your hope in Me. Rely on Me for everything. You seek to perfect yourself with My Law; My Law is there to keep you close to Me. You try to apply My Truth to your life to be successful, happy, and prosperous. I am your prosperity. I am your life.
I am your way. I am the happiness you seek. I am the fulfillment you desire.
You will keep on feeling the effects of the drought until you are planted by My waters. You will continue to feel weak. You will continue to despair and wonder if life can be good. You will continue to look for happiness. You will continue to ache.
Until you put your trust in Me, completely in Me. Be a fool in the eyes of the world and even in your own estimation. Foolishly follow Me with all that you are, hold nothing back, store nothing up, leave nothing out. I promise you will feel life again surging in you. You will feel hope. You will taste joy. You will experience rest in your mind, body, and spirit. You will not be anxious; you will feel secure and confident, protected, taken care of and loved.
Jesus, I choose to place my trust in you. I choose to hope for your promises to come true in my life. I am sorry for the many times I look to the world for fulfillment that will only come from You. Please help me to remember that You alone will satisfy the desires of my heart and to choose to live in a way that reflects Your truth. Amen.
Jer 17:5-10 Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6 Lk 16:19-31