Grow Where You Are Planted

Read Jeremiah 17:7-8

I recently started working here at Eastbrook. Our staff went on retreat this fall to the Nashotah House Seminary near Delafield—a place where it was impossible not to notice the trees.

The vibrant shades of their changing leaves drew my attention. What kept my focus was the thought that these gentle giants simply exist, fully given over to the forces of nature around them, and by relinquishing control, they experience great beauty. They lose branches they’re no longer able to support, allowing the light to filter through in new ways. They sway delicately in the wind, creating shadows that dance us to sleep or soundtracks that score a cozy night on the couch.

Unlike the trees, we humans often find it hard to loosen our grip on what happens around us. In relationships, in work, in traffic, you name it—it’s easy to think we can control the outcome if we just [insert action here]. But ultimately, there is only One who knows how best to respond to the winds that blow through our lives and rustle our leaves.

The tree planted by water “does not fear when heat comes” and “has no worries in a year of drought” (v. 8). In due time, it always receives what it needs from the nearby stream to thrive. Similarly, we are best served by rooting ourselves in faith, leaning into the confidence that the Lord will provide. He blesses those who delight in His law: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3).

Much like nature’s seasons, change in our lives doesn’t always happen overnight. How appropriate that Advent is a season of waiting! Jesus has predicted the ultimate gift: the promise of eternal life by His death and resurrection. Our job is to wait faithfully. In the meantime, look outside. By now, a soft dusting of snow probably sits atop the trees outside your window (but who knows…it is Wisconsin, after all!).


For Personal Reflection: What do you think is the relationship between patiently waiting and hope? How can you live in that space more faithfully?

by Rachel Shuster

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