This morning I decided to forgo exercising at the gym, and instead turn my attention to my horridly overgrown garden. As it turned out, I got a full upper-body workout. I also got a workout for my soul when I came across this, hiding under the leaves of the too-big-for-its-britches fan palm:
I don’t know that I have ever seen a shoot come straight out of a stump before. But there it was, hiding in the shade of my garden: an object lesson for my quiet-time-avoiding-self.
Immediately this verse came to mind:
Isaiah 11:1 – A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
The Jews must have been feeling stumped 2000 years ago. God had made all these lavish promises about how the Son of David, the son of Jesse, would come and rule with an eternal, glorious Kingdom. But there they were under Roman rule, with no promising royalty having been born for several hundred years. No little Prince George standing third in line for the exalted throne. In contrast, David’s line seemed to have suffered a similar fate to the tree in my front garden: felled. stumped.
But tucked away in a sleepy town in Galilee, Luke 3 tells us, Jesus was born. In the most humble and surprising of circumstances, there came Jesus, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Abraham, the son of Adam, the son of God (Luke 3).
Out of the stump will come a shoot. Right in the middle of what seemed to be the dead-end will come a new beginning.
I wandered through the garden and wondered: where else have I felt “stumped” by situations and relationships? Or felt that dreams or hopes had been felled?
Perhaps God will yet give life: He excels at producing fruitful shoots from abandoned stumps.