“The Lord says this: A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of the flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord. He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited.
A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.” [Jer 5-10]
What a statement!
We are so prone to relying on things of the flesh, our minds, our bodies to make our way in the world. We trust in ourselves and each other to achieve happiness in this life.
You are what you make of yourself, we are told. Some would argue that the rich are so because they deserve it, and at least some of the poor because they too have failed to try. Thus, our lot in life is in our own hands.
God tells us differently. He tells us that when we rely on ourselves, when we become the “master of our fate” we see through dirty glasses, or as Paul suggested, through a glass darkly. We are simply unable to define what is good and joyous. We mistake happiness for houses and cars, bling in other words.
And because of that, we take up our residence in the “parched places, the uninhabited salt lands. We miss the paradise God offers, we simply do not see it. We blindly stumble along in life unaware of the true happiness, the true joy which God extends to us.
Quite simply, we life partial lives, unaware, as little more than dumb animals, conditioned to respond to blaring music and neon lights. We become addicted to the glitz, to the ever offered “fix” of adrenalin rush that we think is living.
When disaster strikes, as it must in every life, we fall apart. We are without foundation. We flounder, wail and collapse in disarray.
The one who knows where in her treasure lies, she is undisturbed. Her joy and happiness is firmly rooted in the reality of God, unswayed by the vagaries of human existence. Her joy is undisturbed.
The choice remains for each of us.
Can you see?
**The excerpt is taken from the RSV. I checked with the NRSV, and the NJB. Subtle differences in translation miss this insight given in the RSV, or at least my interpretation. It just goes to show you that there is no perfect translation.