Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I am a Redwood

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and
a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:1

California redwood trees are magnificent. Towering the stratosphere, their massive trunks wider than an arm’s reach, one can’t help but be awed when standing among their roots. Some trees have survived hundreds of years and it’s for this reason that the environmentalists persevere. Nevertheless, the redwood remains one of the most resilient trees. If cut down, within the year new shoots will pop up around its base. It’s a survival tree. Massive amounts of digging are required to completely destroy the life of a redwood.

The people of Israel spent years at the hands of ruthless powers determined to dig out their life. Isaiah’s words have weight when considered in this context. They feared they would become extinct, having been cut down with only a remnant, a stump, showing. Into this desolation and destruction Isaiah makes a promise that the stump is not dead. God will shoot up a living, fruit bearing branch!

In the midst of life’s challenges and the feeling of sometimes being cut down to the roots Jesus comes promising new life, restored life, redeemed life. Nothing is dead or hopeless in the eyes of God. What is seen only from the outside is not considered by God. He is not distracted or discouraged by what looks like utter destruction. Instead he sees only what is underneath, at the root and begins the life restoring process.

Out of the stump of Jesse, a remnant of a nation, came the Hope of the world. Imagine what God wants and can do with our stumps!

Jesus, your humble beginnings give me hope.
Help me to see not the stump of my life but the shoots you are causing to grow.

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