Actual Food — Patterns

Sustenance for The Spirit

One of my very favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 17:7,8:

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

Whose confidence is in him.

He 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 not worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

There are many reasons why this has been a long time favorite scripture, but one reason is how it emphasizes an aspect of nature to teach God’s wisdom. Since God is the Creator, I have become fascinated with how the patterns in nature are used to teach important lessons in scripture. In the passage above, the roots growing toward the water source, the “stream,” teaches me the importance of reading and learning the words of God through men of God, written about in the Bible. The more I can establish and grow my roots deeper into God’s word, the less I will fear the things that can threaten my spiritual well-being, and the more likely I will produce what God wants to produce through me. This idea is presented in other passages as well, like Psalm 1:3, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” We can learn a lot from trees. I recently purchased a small plaque that says, “The trees are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.” The tree depicted fall colored leaves, but I intend to display it year-round. I think it fits “in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

The patterns of nature are everywhere in scripture. In Isaiah 18:4–5, the prophet describes the downfall of Cush with a variety of images from nature: “This is what the Lord says to me: ‘I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’ For, before the harvest when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.”

Passages like that make me wonder. Did God create, so He could use said creation as patterns for living our lives within this creation of His? God gave James the perfect visual for teaching patience in James 5:7, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.” If you’ve ever planted seeds and waited for days to see the first glimpse of green peek out of the soil, you understand patience better. You also understand growth and how important certain conditions, like water, sun and soil, are to attain a healthy plant. In scripture there’s even a parable about seeds planted in various soil and surface conditions and how the growth is affected (Matthew 13). The seasons, the cycles of nature, trees, soil, sunshine, rain, lack of rain, rocks, mountains and water, all teach us important aspects of living the Christian life. I feel spiritual when I realize how much I am a part of this creation of God’s. Not necessarily in reference to the Holy Spirit, but in a connection to all that God has made and the purposefulness I begin to see surrounding me.

As you go about your day and the weeks ahead, seek the lessons that surround you. Notice the many references in scripture to pictures found only in God’s creation. The process will negate any doubts you ever had that our world came about any other way. Working in a flower shop, my co-workers and I are continually amazed at the flowers that come in with individual colors and markings so unique to a particular flower. We recently received some deep purple anemones that looked like hand painted velvet. Words can’t describe the beauty. When we see such samples of creation, we become grateful once again for the beauty, the plan and the creativity of God’s six days of work. We can’t imagine a better pattern for life. The patterns of earth were the design of the One who designs our spiritual well-being, which is an amazing spiritual connection. Simply follow the patterns of nature, and we follow God.

Have a wonderful day!

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Xan Holub

A skeptical baby boomer, a Christian woman with a desire to share honest messages from a heart shaped in a life of stability, yet facing a world on the edge.