This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They 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.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” – Jeremiah 17:5-10 New International Version
The book of Jeremiah is filled with richness. Eugene Peterson wrote a wonderful book on the book of Jeremiah called, Run With The Horses, that I encourage you to read.
The often-read verse 8 in chapter 17 is one of my favorites.
One of the ways I stay like a well-watered tree, that Jeremiah writes about is through the practice of Examen. I first learned about this prayer in the Fall of 2014 as I was engaged in Fuller Seminary. As many of you know, St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish Catholic priest and theologian who lived during the 1500s is the father of this practice or prayer. Here’s how it works best.
1. Practice Examen twice a day, once in the beginning of your day and then again at the end of your day.
2. Stop and get still to enter into God’s presence. Thank him and express your gratitude towards him.
3. Ask yourself the following questions. Where did I recognize God’s presence today/yesterday? When did I feel most alive? Where did I fall short today/yesterday? Where did I feel desolation?
4. Finally, close in silence and listen for God to speak to you asking yourself, what is God offering back up to me?
As you stay connected and mindful of God working in your life, I pray that you will experience the feeling of being like a well-water tree that grows by the water.