I took this picture last winter while out hiking with two dear friends. It was a chilly, overcast day. The river was dark and muddy; not particularly pretty. We walked on for miles staying on the lookout for the bald eagles that use this river as one of their major hunting sources. Something sparkling caught my eye and I walked down to the river’s edge. There at the edge were several clumps of these crystalized leaves; gorgeous and magnificent shimmering on the water’s edge. I was in wonder once again of the never ending depth of God’s creative power in what appears to be dead, dried up and useless.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:3-4
Nature speaks to me over and over again of God’s resurrection power. This journey of Lent is a road that leads to death; horrible, awful death. There is no getting around it, denying it or making it look pretty. Christ suffered immensely for us but that is not where the journey ends. We as humans, we as Christians, too often get stuck in the death and dying. We should never deny the road Jesus had to walk for us, but we dishonor Him if our faith stops there. The real gift is life out of death! If we hand our dried up old leaves to the Lord, He will transform us in ways we could never imagine.
His Love Makes Us Sparkle,
“Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
Sure sounds quite devastating doesn’t it? Mean, mean, nasty God……or is He? Sometimes I wonder if God puts the blame upon Himself for the messes His willful children make. Just like any good parent, God uses all circumstances as an object lesson; a teaching moment. AND as all devoted parents do, He gives hope in the darkest of times.
I cannot speak for all of humanity but I can tell you from my own life that I have made some pretty terrible messes in my time. I have lived in devastating times when all I sensed was destruction and despair. I wandered the barren wasteland of my life devoid of hope. And then I come upon it; the little stump of what is left of my faith. Though other conflicts try to overtake the stump, it continues to receive nourishment from its massive roots buried deep within the earth. The roots of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit never give up.
I am so grateful for that stump in the wasteland that showed me hope is always available and a new unexpected life can spring forth from death and despair.
I realize this message may at first seem a little gloomy but I challenge you to allow the words of scripture to seep deeper into your being. In this passage is light and hope so immense that our feet will not be able to stay quiet but dance for joy at the incredible love and commitment of God for His children….us; you and me…..His kids.
Grateful for the Stump,