roots and stability

Change is everywhere. Kids. Jobs. Houses. Health. Relationships. Emotions. Life is a puzzle of constantly moving pieces. It can be dizzying.

People have different feelings about change. I happen to enjoy it myself. But, I still crave something solid. Something I know will be steady in the midst of the changes that swirl around me.

Psalm 1 tells me how to find those roots.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. -          Psalm 1:1-3

There are many ways cope with change and difficulty. Some healthy. Many unhealthy. This psalm tells us that whether active (walking or standing) or passive (sitting), the way of sin will not bring us the comfort we seek. The key is to delight and meditate on God’s Word. That is what will give us the roots to weather storms.

If you’re like me, this actually doesn’t bring much comfort. This psalm makes me feel like a failure.

I love God’s Word, but I wouldn’t say I “delight” in it. If I were offered the chance to read a Bible verse or eat a piece of chocolate, 9 times out of 10, I would choose the chocolate. I delight in chocolate.

And, I love to read God’s Word, but I wouldn’t say that I meditate on it day and night. I also like to do things besides read the Bible. Things like hanging out with friends, watching TV, and sometimes even sleeping.

So am I lost cause? Am I bound to blow in the wind like chaff (what it says the wicked will do in verse 4?) Or can I be the tree who is planted by the water?

I think there is hope for me yet.

Because the language of this Psalm is not the language of a destination. It is the language of a journey.

The Hebrew word for “delight” is “chephets.” It is also used to indicate “desire” or “longing.” So the question isn’t whether my heart already craves God’s Word above all things. The question is whether my heart is pointed in the direction of God’s Word. Longing to see it transform me. Longing to delight in it more each day.

The Hebrew word for “meditate” is “hagah.” It is also used for “imagine” or “muse.” So the question isn’t whether I read God’s Word day and night. The question is whether God’s Word is the lens through which I view the world. Imagining how God would want me to respond to the needs around me. Imagining which decisions God would want me to make.

Life is a journey full of twists and turns. As I walk, this psalm asks me to reflect on my path.

Am I walking on the path of sinners? Longing to have what they have? Or am I walking on the path of God? Longing to be what His Word says?

The path of God’s Word is what will give me stability. The path of God’s Word is what will bring comfort and blessing.

The path of God’s Word is what will give me roots.