One thing is very clear: Those whose roots are in the river get a handle on fear and worry. Jeremiah used the word fear and worry in his short parable. “It does not fear when heat comes” and “It has no worries in a year of drought” (Jer. 17:8l, italics added). Fear and worry are not fruit of the Spirit but rather fruit of the flesh. This is because fear and worry denote a lack of trust and confidence in the Lord.
The longer my roots rest in the river, the better I will deal with fear and worry. When I look at the entire life of Jeremiah, I can see that he lived in the heat of life in drought conditions. The heat was on him all the days of his life. There was a drought of leadership in the land, a drought of belief on behalf of the people, a drought of the word of the Lord because most of the prophets spoke lies, and a drought of support in every dimension for Jeremiah himself. There was a drought of friends, of supportive family, of health and wealth. All around him people were worrying about their past, present, and future. God was Jeremiah’s past, present, and future!
Jeremiah encouraged himself in the Lord and kept his roots in the river. When he lost faith and confidence in the character and workings of God, he came back to the sap of God’s Word and flourished again. When he put his faith into operation, he had no worries or fears. God proved to be bigger than them all.
For years I tried to deal with my many fears one by one. The fear of flying was very real and almost paralyzing to me. I tried to concentrate on overcoming that particular fear. Then I had a fear of speaking in front of “important” people, and a worry about my children not growing up to love the Lord. I fear the hospital and anesthetic. I feared the absence of my husband when away on missions. I worried about our financial security as missionaries and our loss of benefits when we immigrated to America.
As each worry came along, I concentrated all my efforts on overcoming the worry of the day. Then one day I decided I would stop doing that and concentrate on the main thing. When we do the main thing—making sure our roots are in the river—we develop greater faith in God’s ability to help with all and any of our individual worries. This is a huge step forward in dealing with our fears and concerns.
Because of the years of drought I have experienced, the worries of life seem less frightening to me. What God did for me in the past He will do for me in the future. Why should He do anything else? He will not be anything less than He has been. He never changes His mind or character. I can bank on that—and so can you!
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