Life Really Can Be Blessed
The most encouraging thing I may know about God is that He CAN give us a blessed life.
My Heart and the Dead Sea?
How do I know this? Well, it sort of has to do with the Dead Sea—you know, the lake at the southern end of Israel. It’s a barren and toxic place. This bizarre place sits at the lowest elevation on Earth at 1300 feet below sea level. The lake is dead because of its massive salt content, 10 times saltier than the ocean. Just to add insult to injury, the lake also belches up thick black asphalt, coating everything in lovely globs of tar. With no outlet the Dead Sea is a dead end that sits and stagnates.
I think a part of the reason God has left this ugly scab on the earth’s skin is to remind us of what can happen to any human heart. Left to itself, any heart grows dry, barren, and toxic. It pictures my heart when I refuse the life God offers. It’s written all over sacred Scripture.
Jeremiah 17:5–8 (NIV)
5 This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Did you get the imagery? Wastelands, parched places, a desert, a salt land where no one lives. It’s describing a “heart that turns away from the Lord.” This is not a description of a person who does not want a blessed life. It’s just a desire with goals too low — the desires to be rich, beautiful, famous, successful … and thin. All of them empty into a dead sea. But your soul was created for greater thirsts.
“Blessed” by a better definition
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” This describes access to a blessed life. It is a simple and deep truth. Anyone blessed by God is blessed because they trust in Him. Simple but not easy. Trust in Him means to believe Him, turn to Him, surrender to Him, depend on Him, cling to Him. Oh, and repeat daily.
Blessed is “like a tree planted by the water” Blessed means your soul is deeply nourished by the Life of God in you. This means Christ living in you and you living in Him. Look at the outcomes:
Outcome 1 – ” [you] send out roots by the stream” – You send your roots into the life of God. You choose to draw your strength from Him, and no other source. It’s like drinking from a deep crystal-clear river. God becomes the constant source of life.
Outcome 2 – “[you do] not fear when heat comes” – even though the heat never stops coming. The heat is the next major test in school; the next pressure point at work to perform or else; or the financial pressure; or the friction in a relationship; or the test results from the doctor. If your roots are growing deep into the life of God – you don’t have to fear—you can be constantly refreshed.
Outcome 3 – “[your] leaves are always green; [you have] no worries in a year of drought” – What you do externally will flourish because you have spiritual nourishment stored up even in the midst of drought.
Outcome 4 – “[you] never fail to bear fruit” – Your life can produce fruit … not just results. Fruit has life in it. Fruit possesses seeds that produce more life. Others are nourished by it.
Put it all together — a blessed life is deeply nourished by the life of God in you; it is a life unafraid, free of worry, and producing meaningful fruit. This is your life when you follow after Him.
God Makes a Blessed Life
When God produces a blessed life, He makes it secure. For me, it means a life settled and sure that God resides in my yesterday, my today, and already in my tomorrow. He is present in each at the same time – protecting me, guiding me, and caring for me. A blessed life.