Rusting in Peace
By Dr. Tracy Jessup
“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.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
On April 2, 2007, a devastating earthquake in the western Solomon Islands caused a tsunami that killed 52 people. Reefs were pushed up an estimated 10 feet and exposed a World War II torpedo boat that had rested on the ocean floor for over 60 years. Only the hull with its deadly cargo of explosives remained intact. According to JayWaura of the National Disaster Management Office, “a Solomon Islands Police Force bomb disposal unit was be sent to the island to safely detonate the explosives.”
Decaying military wrecks from World War II are believed to be scattered across the coastline of the Solomon Islands, including the torpedo patrol boat commanded by John F. Kennedy. Commenting on the discovery, Waura said, “We were amazed by this finding, as previously this wreckage had long been sitting under the sea and rusting in peace without anyone knowing about it” (“Quake brings WWII PT boat up from ocean floor,” 4/27/07).
“This wreckage had long been sitting under the sea and rusting in peace without anyone knowing about it.” Jeremiah, often called the weeping prophet, was no stranger to suffering, and he reminds us that we are offered two options in the face of adversity and the wreckage we sometimes encounter in life. Everything hinges on the object of our trust and where our hearts are. “Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord” (v. 5). On the outside, things may appear to be fine, but spiritually, there is “wreckage…rusting in peace without anyone knowing about it.” Their life is a spiritual desert of thirst and loneliness apart from God (v. 6).
But there is an alternative to trusting in mere mortals. “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” (Vv. 7-8). This does not mean that the one who trusts in God never encounters adversity. Jeremiah recognizes that drought and heat will still come, but because our trust and strength are in the Lord we will endure the difficult conditions. As a matter of fact, rather than “rusting in peace,” we will thrive spiritually – “not ceasing to bear fruit” (v. 8).
God can be glorified in our suffering when we bear fruit amid the wreckage of life. But first, we must resist the temptation to trust in ourselves or others and place our trust in God and God alone.
Prayer: Lord, we do trust you, but we ask for grace to trust you more.
Dr. Tracy Jessup serves as vice president for Christian Life and Service and senior minister to the University. He is a graduate of Gardner-Webb with a B.A. in Music and earned his M. Div. degree at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also teaches in the undergraduate department of religious studies and enjoys the opportunity to serve the local church through interim pastorates, pulpit supply, and preaching revival services. he and his wife, Teresa, have two children, Christian and Anna.
Read more Good Christian News from Dr. Jessup HERE.