New Chapters – January 8, 2020

Some days….

Because of a Christian Journal for which I pay; I receive dozens for free. I can’t read them all but I do read some; typically because a title or tagline catches my eye; this one did. I am not really sure why. Maybe God wanted you to read it too. Blessings,

Pastor Scott

Dead Stumps Grow Back and Thrive, and so Can You

“There is hope for a tree that has been cut down; it can come back to life and sprout.” Job 14:7 (GNT)

They all started out in little 10-inch pots, but after 23 years, each had grown 15 feet tall with a 6-foot circumference. These four massive holly trees were now overtaking the front of my house, even blocking my kitchen window.

I finally took the plunge and hired someone to cut them all down, but didn’t realize they would leave the tree stumps in the ground. My uninformed-self just assumed I could cover them with pine needles and forget about them. Which I did. Until a few months later when little twigs and sprouts started poking up between the mounds of needles on all four stumps.

After a little research, I discovered that unless you kill the root of the tree by treating the stump, rain and sunshine will bring life back to it, and the tree can begin growing again. It suddenly struck me how my life was similar to those stumps.

After my husband of 25 years abruptly left our marriage and our family, I felt just like one of those stumps — chopped down as low as I could go and feeling like life was over. Discarded and damaged. Covered up by darkness and despair, wondering why God had allowed these painful circumstances in my life. Heartbroken, scared and uncertain of the future, all because — in one unforgettable day — my entire life was turned upside down and forever changed.

In Scripture, we read Job’s story and can wonder if he felt the exact same way. He was a wealthy man who had everything, and life was good. Until it wasn’t.

Job lost his 10 children, livestock, servants and health. Although he was once like a massive tree full of life, in the course of one unforgettable day, he had been rendered nothing short of an old, dead stump.

Yet, despite Satan’s temptations to bring him down, these losses brought Job down to his knees before God instead. Rather than turning against God as his friends and wife told him to do, he turned toward God, clinging to a hope that seemed impossible in his circumstances.

Job was only human, and we read in Scripture how devastated and upset he was, even cursing the day he was born. His pain, thoughts and emotions ran deep. But he still kept his faith, and eventually, in today’s key verse, we see where he began to speak words of hope, believing that with God by his side, he could endure these tragic circumstances and grow and thrive again: “There is hope for a tree that has been cut down; it can come back to life and sprout” (Job 14:7). Job believed that despite the fact he had lost everything, God was still God, and he would survive

Life circumstances can feel so hard, unrelenting and devastating. Whether it’s divorce, health issues, financial struggles, loss of a loved one, unemployment or some other personal difficulty, we often can’t help but question why God allows us to suffer. We can’t understand why He takes away the very things we treasured most.

Maybe you’re feeling like an old, dead stump, wondering if you can ever sprout twigs of life and happiness again, feeling hopeless and fearful about the future.

Yet, just like Job, we can decide to believe that despite our pain, God is still a good God and let our faith serve as hydration for our spirits and sunshine for our souls so growth and new life can begin again.

Over time, God restored Job’s health, gave him new children, provided him with twice the property he had lost and offered him a long, happy life. God has also brought about great restoration in my own life, and hanging on to hope is what has carried me through the last few years.

That same hope is yours for the taking.

Dear Jesus, my soul is tired. So many difficult circumstances have brought me down. Please fill me with the peace of knowing You see me and are still in control, and equip me to hang on to hope in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Romans 15:13, “May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (GNT)

Psalm 39:7, “And so, LORD, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” (NLT)

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