By Kori Yates
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalm 92:12-13)
“The act or fact of living or continuing longer than another person or thing” is how Merriam Webster defines survival. In our culture of comparison, this fits right in. If I just last longer, if my marriage hangs on, if our kids turn out mostly normal, if I make it to retirement, if I’m at least honorably discharged – these are all thoughts that no doubt most of us have entertained at some point in time or another. Days of counting down a deployment, completing a PCS, or finishing a school year can become days of survival.
God has a much better plan.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
“Abundant life” and “just getting by” aren’t the same thing at all. Abundant life gives us visions of thriving and flourishing, pictures of hope and joy, the desire of the Lord for us.
As we enter into 2019, Planting Roots is determined to FLOURISH.
Our verse from Psalm 92 gives us a picture of a tree that is thriving, growing, and flourishing. Palm trees, in the event you hadn’t noticed, don’t usually grow in a green pasture or on a mountainside with all the other trees. Planting their roots in sandy soil, they are flexible and yet amazingly strong. They thrive in areas of low rainfall and last through storms of hurricane-force strength. Even in tsunamis, the tree might be gone but the root ball is still there holding on.
Cedar trees thrive in arid environments as well. Their roots go far into the earth and can soak up almost thirty gallons of water a day from soil that doesn’t seem to have any water in it. Both the palm tree and cedar tree remind me of military life. I don’t doubt that God made the correlation long ago and used these very trees as examples of what could be for those who plant their roots in Him.
Charles Spurgeon says it this way:
Palm trees – “When we see a noble palm standing erect, sending all its strength upward in one bold column, and growing amid the dearth and drought of the desert, we have a fine picture of the godly man, who in his uprightness aims alone at the glory of God; and, independent of outward circumstances, is made by divine grace to live and thrive where all things else perish.”
Cedar trees – “On the summit of the mountain, unsheltered from the blast, the cedar waves its mighty branches in perpetual verdure, and so the truly godly man under all adversities retains the joy of his soul, and continues to make progress in the divine life.”
We live in a dry and parched land, a land of storms, wind, and drought, a land God knew about before the words of Psalm 92 were ever penned. Military life, and life in general, brings its share of storms, drought, and desert places… but God. We weren’t made to simply survive it all or hope to hang on, but to thrive and flourish in that very place.
In storms and droughts of work, marriage, children, and community, duty stations that are hard, lonely, and dry, and seasons that seem to bring one challenge immediately after the one before, He made us to FLOURISH regardless of situation or circumstance. He made us to live in abundance.
At Planting Roots, our core verse is Jeremiah 17:8,
“He is like a tree planted by the water, that sends its roots out by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
It’s that tree again. Withstanding storms and drought, it finds its source of life, FLOURISHING in the place where it is.
I want to be that tree.
Don’t you? Do you desire to FLOURISH in this military adventure, overflowing with joy and hope into the world around you? Are you up for such a challenge? God has great things in store and we are determined to live a life of abundance!
We are determined to FLOURISH. To do so, we have to go back to the source.
Together, as we encourage and equip each other in our walk with the Lord, we can grow and thrive in the places we are. It’s going to be a great year!
SNEAK PEEK: Next week, we will talk about the HOW of FLOURISHING!