*This summer at Providence Church, we are spending time in the psalms together. Our desire is to become familiar with the psalms as a place we learn to talk to God, no matter our circumstance or emotion. Psalms are an art form. They are poetry. They give God’s people a language of prayer. We are looking at a different psalm each Sunday and asking how the truth of that particular psalm intersects our lives. In this simple practice, we are trusting God to transform us as a community and produce in us fervent lives of prayer.
Following our time together on Sunday, we are devotionally working through that same psalm throughout the week in different ways (reading, meditation, prayer). As we are taking in God’s Word together as a community, we want to respond to Him. One way we are doing this is by writing responses to God from our time meditating on these psalms. Each week we will be posting one of these responses, written by a member of our community. Here is the first written reflection from our own Bev Thomson:
As I read Psalm 1, the part that resonates with me the most is in verse 3 where a righteous man is compared to a tree planted by a stream. I love trees and consider them a gift from God! I have drawn and painted pictures of their twisted limbs and patterned bark, but most of all I love having my devotional time while sitting out on my deck surrounded by trees, or sitting in my sky chair which hangs from the limb of a large tree. Somehow talking to God, gazing up through the branches at blue sky, just seems like a little bit of heaven.
In this Psalm a righteous man is compared to “a tree planted by streams of water”, and he is also called “blessed” because he delights in the law of the Lord and meditates upon it day and night. These particular verses resonate deeply within my heart and soul.
I’ve never thought of myself as a tree before! I’m not very tall or majestic, but when I read these verses I identified with a particular tree I once knew well. Across the street from the home where my husband Rick and I raised our family was a meandering creek with trees along its banks that were probably sixty or more years old. One particular tree amazed me. As I would pass by it on my morning run, I’d see this huge tree clinging to the bank with almost all of its roots exposed. This was due to rains that would often turn this small creek into a raging torrent. It always amazed me that this tree hadn’t toppled over like so many others had. I figured it must have roots that reached very deep down into the soil of this creek bed to survive all these years.
Like this tree, I was once caught up in what seemed like a raging torrent that threatened to uproot me from the security of my wonderful life. Nineteen years ago, I answered my door in the middle of the night to be told my husband of 25 years had died suddenly in a country half way around the world. My grief was deep and I felt very alone in it. But God met me there and I was soon reminded that this hadn’t caught God by surprise. In fact he’d been preparing me for this day for years by placing a deep passion in my heart to know Christ intimately. This passion took me into the Scriptures where over the years my love for Christ deepened along with my total trust in God and His word. God had not only planted me, but deeply rooted me by “streams of living water”. As a result, I found myself grasping onto these truths exactly when God knew I would need them most. So like the tree in our creek, I felt battered by life but never doubted the sovereignty of God or what the Scriptures had to say about His character. God has been amazingly faithful and I feel blessed to have seen his hand at work in my life in ways I will never forget.
As the years go by, and as I continue to walk with God, I am still awed to know that He holds me by my right hand, that He will always be my solid rock, and in Him I am utterly safe. I don’t ever expect to understand the “whys” of God’s ways, but nevertheless I know I can trust Him in all things. I have experienced a God who leans down and whispers hope and love to us. His Spirit empowers us and gives us strength to endure.
I hope I am like the tree in these verses that “yields its fruit in its season”. I do know that I am most humbled that God has allowed me to experience the fruit of thankfulness, peace, and joy, when I wasn’t sure I’d ever truly experience them again. My God is so good!!