Lenten Devotional for Jeremiah 17: 5-10

"Thus says the Lord:

Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals

and make mere flesh their strength, 

whose hearts turn away from the Lord.

They shall be like a shrub in the desert,

and shall not see when relief comes.

They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness,

in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,

whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,

sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,

and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,

and it does not cease to bear fruit.

The heart is devious above all else;

it is perverse-- 

who can understand it?

I the Lord test the mind

and search the heart,

to give to all according to their ways,

according to the fruit of their doings."

~Jeremiah 17:5-10

Recently, I was at a job interview where the interviewer asked, “What was a goal that you expected or assumed would happen but did not? What did you do afterward?”. This was the first time I had thought about a missed opportunity as a question of “what else was going on”? Although I had missed the opportunity, I was able to devote more time to my classes and became involved with a community service organization. We often hear the saying, “As one door closes another one opens”, but do I think about the door that is opening? Or the door that is closing? In this scripture passage, those who trust in the Lord are compared to a tree—one with deep roots who does not cease to bear fruit even during the year of drought. While it is easy for me to list out the “have nots” in my life, the “haves” are much more meaningful; the friend made during a stressful time or the gained courage and confidence to stand up during a time of trial. Looking back on all the times I was struggling with a personal or professional issue, there have always been silver linings that I can be thankful for. During our years of drought, what fruit are we producing?

Maria Pellicier, NYU’20