Daily Thought For December 9, 2016

Don't Be Afraid of "Stumps"

A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1)

Picture a tree stump. It’s graying, dry, maybe even crumbling away. It seems impossible that a shoot—or any sign of life—could sprout from something so barren. But if you think about it, this kind of image lies at the heart of many of our favorite biblical stories.

For instance, you might think of the act of creation as the original sprouting stump. Out of a formless, shapeless chasm sprang an entire universe! Though they were elderly, Abraham and Sarah produced a bud that would eventually bloom into a whole nation. Mary wasn’t exactly lifeless, but new life came from her in an unexpected way. And then there’s Jesus. Think of how his life and ministry were cut down on the cross, only to shoot up from the grave three days later!

This image of life miraculously springing up from old stumps is deeply embedded in our faith. It has also taken root in you.

Take a few seconds to wander through the garden of your heart. Do you see any stumps poking out? We all have them. Maybe it’s a wounded relationship with a family member or lingering guilt over a sin you have already confessed. It could be anxiety over the future or a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that tells you God is displeased with you. Whatever it is, know that God can bring new life out of any situation, even something that seems as dead as an old tree stump. He can help you become more loving, more patient, and more compassionate.

Don’t let these stumps intimidate you. Any time you stumble upon one, or stumble over one, pray, “Father, I believe that you can bring new life here.” Statements of faith like this can go a long way in helping you experience God’s touch. They can remind you that the Lord is good and patient and loving. They can help you to keep moving forward with the Lord and not get stuck in worry or guilt.

There is so much more to your life than stumps! God has planted a forest full of seeds in you. Take a look around, and see how many of them are bearing wonderful fruit.

“Here I am, Lord. Let every part of me teem with your life and joy.”

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