Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
The Two Ways
1 Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
One of my favorite places to visit is Fort Davis in the Davis Mountains of Texas. It is an area that has its own kind of beauty. There aren’t many trees larger than the small and scrubby little trees that have taken hold in that semi-arid land.
But, near Fort Davis, there’s a stream bed beside the road that is dry most of the time. You can clearly see where the creek bed runs, and along the bank of this usually-dry stream bed there are a number of tall trees—mostly cottonwood. They seem almost out of place. It doesn’t seem possible that these tall and healthy trees could exist in this place, but there they are. What is their secret?
The man in the hospital bed stirs as a visitor opens the door. He smiles weakly as he recognizes his pastor, who has stopped in for a visit to comfort and encourage him. The pastor knows the gravity of his condition, so she’s there to offer hope and encouragement as he faces health problems that may claim his life.
Fifteen minutes later she leaves the room, inspired by his courage, his strength and his faith. It doesn’t seem possible that his spirit would be thriving in that place. What is his secret?
He just lost his job and is reeling from the suddenness of it. Laid off. He expresses his concern about looking for work at his age and what it would mean. Then, he begins to talk about his trust in God and that no matter what happens, it will be okay. Is he just putting on a brave face? No, there is more to it than that. That’s evident. But what? What is his secret?
The Same Secret for the Trees and the People. The secret is the same for the trees, the couple, the hospital patient, and the newly-unemployed man. They all have roots that go deep to a source that is not obvious.
The tall and healthy trees are grouped together in that particular place because even though there’s usually no visible water, their roots reach down far enough to connect with the water source that runs deep beneath the surface. That unseen water source keeps them thriving in this dry and desolate ground flourishing along this path where everything else is scrub brush.
Those people have deep roots, too. They are connected to a Source. To use the words of Psalm 1, they are “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.” To use the words of Ephesians 3:17, they are “rooted and grounded in love.”
I invite you to think about what it means to be deeply-rooted in God, the source of our life and strength.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster