Risk 3: Where do we rest our hearts?

My son David recently married “the girl next door” (almost literally), and the reception was at our house. The day before the wedding, my sons and I took an old porch swing from the barn and hung it from a large branch. A few days after the wedding, the branch broke and smashed the swing. The branch had looked solid, but it was rotten.

I am so grateful no one was resting on the swing when that branch broke.

While no one was hurt, the smashed swing caused me consider that one of the greatest risks of all may be where we rest our hearts.

Some of us find rest in success or career. When work goes well, our hearts find peace. But jobs are fragile branches. They cannot bear the weight of our lives.

Some of us find rest in family. When our kids are good or when our spouse loves us, our hearts find peace. But families are fragile branches. Our spouse may die (in fact, will die), and our children will make mistakes, and they too may suffer grave illness or death.

Some of us find rest in ministry. When our talks are loved and our blogs are read and people are converted, our hearts find peace. But ministry is a fragile branch. We can do everything right and not see fruit. Jesus did everything perfectly, and he was murdered.

Jeremiah 17:7 says: Blessed are they who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

I think this verse says it is not enough to merely trust in the Lord. If we stop there, it can in fact be a huge mistake.

What? Isn’t that heresy? Not if we see what Jeremiah is really saying. If we trust in the Lord to obtain what we rest our hearts on, we actually may not trust the Lord. Our hearts may be resting on a rotten branch.

What might we trust in the Lord for?

• Successful careers
• A loving spouse
• Financial security
• A happy healthy family
• Approval of friends
• A successful ministry

If we are trusting in the Lord primarily to provide us those things, then we are not really trusting in the Lord. Instead, we are trusting in those things. What we call “trusting in the Lord” is simply using God to get the things that we most trust in; we are manipulating God to get what our heart most rests in.

And when those things fail—illness in the family, pink slips at work, seemingly fruitless ministry—then our hearts are crushed because we’ve been resting our hearts on rotten branches.

The final phrase in the Jeremiah verse explains true heart rest: Blessed are they … whose trust IS the Lord.

When our hearts find rest in God alone, not in external circumstances, then—and only then—we have found an enduring and solid rest. We often cannot comprehend why God allows illness or pain or suffering; but we always know God is using everything for our good. Pink slips may free us from resting our hearts in career, and illness may save us from resting our hearts in this world.

This world is crashing down; what we see around us is passing away. God, and God alone, will last forever. As will those whose trust is the Lord.

We are making big mistakes, and we are taking huge risks, until our hearts rest in God alone, until our trust IS the Lord.

The biggest risk of all may be where we rest our hearts.

See also:

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12 Responses to Risk 3: Where do we rest our hearts?

  1. Andy Williamson says:

    It’s interesting that the Scriptures do not say that Israel lived by bread that God supplied, but they lived by every word that God spoke (Deuteronomy 8:4). As you said, God himself is our trust, not the things he gives us or sometimes withholds from us. Our trust is in God, and he free to be faithful in whatever way he chooses to be faithful. In God alone is my soul at rest. Yes! Thanks for the picture of the broken branch and the true branch!

    • Hi Andy, it’s great to receive a comment from my older brother, living half-way around the world (as far as he could get from me!).

      Sometime we hear “trust in God” too much; the phrase can simply lead us to use God to get to our idols.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Sam

  2. rick says:

    sooo helpful….wonderful insight my friend. ouch.

  3. Pete says:

    Good job Sam…I agree, there are far too many times when I put my trust in the things that I think God can provide rather than in Him and His promise that I am His Beloved.

  4. Hi,

    This is so helpful to me at this time. Thanks for your heart and transparency. Greetings from England.

    Tim

  5. Jody says:

    A clarifying read. And timely. I”ll call soon.

    As always, your messages elicit my full attention.

    Jody

  6. Lyle Regan says:

    REST. What an interesting word, or more accurately,.. what an interesting definition we as western culture americans have attached to it. Rest in this world can only be a fleeting thing, here and gone very quickly. As you have eluded to Sam, true rest can only be found when Jesus IS our resting place. Not that all our circumstances will be “hunky-dory” but that no matter what, we know that Jesus’s words will never falter. He did say that “no one will ever take you from my hand”. What a great promise. Because of His words such as these, I can step out to become who God has designed me to be. “Live from a true heart”. Lyle

  7. ptiews says:

    What a graphic and memorable picture. We decided to take out a whole big tree in our yard because it had a cracked branch … hmmm there is a blog entry in that somewhere.

    I agree there is an important distinction between trusting in the Lord and the Lord being our trust. Either are easier to talk about than to walk out, though! May the Lord help us to have him as our trust.

    Phil

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