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Sustaining Leaves

Meg Chaney

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
— Psalm 1:3

Let's be realistic here: leaves wither. It's part of the natural process. The changing of seasons. One of my favorite times of year is Spring, watching new life begin, watching the beautiful trees bloom out in frothy whiteness, watching bright new green leaves being formed. But those leaves are only formed because the leaves of the last season withered up and died. That process is beautiful. The transformation each year is beautiful. I've heard sermons comparing the changes of live to the changing seasons. But Psalm 1 is striking a different note. In this case, as believers, we will never wither. We'll never fade away. We will remain vibrant and strong, not of our own accord, but because God is the one reinforcing us, God is the one reinforcing our roots, nourishing us, sustaining us through good time and bad. 

In Hebrew, the word wither is nabel. Nabel means to sink or drop down, to wither and fall, to droop, to fade. 

There are certainly times in this life, seasons that feel like we're withering away. Seasons where we wonder about joy, about peace. 

But my friends, can I whisper to your heart, and mine, today?

This verse has nothing to do with outward peace, outward happiness. This world, the things of this world, the people of this world, will never fulfill us. There will always be things that come up short, sadness, hurt, grief, loneliness will always find us. No, this verse doesn't have anything to do with the outer-world, and everything to do with our hearts.

Because here, in this verse, God has promised to keep us. 

He's promised to hold our hearts close to Him.

He's promised to be our refuge in all things.

He's promised that, even though this outer world may get messy, our hearts will always be sustained by Him.

No, this verse doesn't promise that we won't ever come head to head with the messiness of this life. 

This verse promises that He will keep our hearts. 

Psalm 90:14-15 has been on my heart a lot lately. I've been longing to be satisfied by Him alone. To seek out joy that only comes from Him, even when the rest of life swirls in chaos around me. I've been wondering what that looks like. What that feels like to live in His joy and peace. In His promise that He has me secure in His arms. That my leaves won't wither. That true satisfaction and joy can only be found in Him. This is, truly, a beautiful prayer to repeat as you start each morning:

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
— Psalm 90:14-15, ESV

Satisfy us, dear Lord. Sustain us. Remind us that we are nothing without you. Because of you, we have the promise that our leaves won't wither. Because of you, we have eternity. It's so easy to get stuck on what I do or don't have in this world, on how my life may or may not measure up at the moment. Help me to focus on you instead. To focus on the very life you've given me for this specific time and season. And Lord Jesus, please fill it with abundant joy today. Because on my own, I like to see the cynical, the things that don't measure up. Help me to see with your eyes instead. Help me to show love and patiences where needed. Help me to find true satisfaction and joy that can only be found in you. 

I'll leave you all with one more portion of scripture today. It came to mind as I was writing out these verses above. This world, and everything in is, is truly withering away. It's our inner self that's eternal: 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
— 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV