In front of my parents’ house grows a towering redwood, over 50 feet high. It is beautiful and strong, a majestic tree. We planted two on our front lawn when my family moved into the house in 1973. They were 8 feet high then, and over the summer we watched as one grew and one did not. We watered them both, but one seemed to drink the water, to delight in the water, and it flourished. The other did not, dried up, and died. Today I can point to the spot the other tree was planted, but there is no trace it was ever there.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away (Psalm 1:3-4).
I was a teenager in 1973, and prayer was difficult. Speaking to someone unseen felt odd. I repeated myself a lot and talked like King James, “Thee” and “Thou.” One day I opened the Psalms and was surprised by the words. They were my words, the expressions I longed for, “Give ear to my words, O Lord” (Psalm 5:1), and “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers” (Psalm 8:3), and “I will fear no evil for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). I began to pray the Psalms, to walk with a Bible in hand and pray God’s Word back to him. “Fight against those who fight against me” (Psalm 35:1), robust words that declared my thoughts and desires. I learned to pray by praying the Psalms, to “delight in the law of the Lord, and on his law meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). That man is described as blessed. That man will grow like a tree planted by streams of water.
O Lord my God, early in the morning I stop and wonder what this day will bring. What have You set before me? Prepare me to meet the wonders and challenges and opportunities and delights of this world. Fill my heart this morning with Your grace and truth, make me wise and give me courage and compassion.
May I be strong in Your love today. Whether I meet friend or enemy, may my life express Your Gospel. May I do good and right, and may You be praised.