Monday, February 22, 2010

At least there's hope... for a tree???

Job said in Job 14:7, "At least there is hope for a tree......"

Job was in such distress! His whole world had crashed and fallen around him. Disaster had struck everywhere! Life was no more as he had known it. He'd lost his oxen. His donkeys. His sheep. His camels. His servants. His house. But worse than that, he lost all of his sons, he lost all of his daughters! And ALL in the very first chapter of his book! The only thing it seemed that he had left was his health, and he lost that too in chapter two. He hurt both physically and mentally. His heart ached and his skin did too. His pain was constant, relentless, agonizing, excruciating.

It's in his 14th chapter that he says, "At least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail." 

Job could see hope in the life of a cut down tree. There was hope for it to sprout again, to change for the better, to grow again, to produce shoots. But what about hope for himself? Although he didn't know it then (because his eyes couldn't yet see) there was still hope for Job! His life WOULD sprout again - just as he spoke of that tree! 

Because Job had hope in the One Who could help him, in the One that he knew was faithful even when things looked hopeless! He had said himself in the chapter just before this one, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him. Indeed, this WILL [this WILL! this WILL!] turn out for my deliverance."

Job still believed! His confidence is obvious. He still held onto his Hope.

Surely Job himself, in his latter years, could have written the words found penned in Psalm 92:12-15? "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, "The Lord is upright: He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.""

Job did grow (like a tree that had been cut down to sprout again), his life did flourish, he was still bearing fruit in his old age (as if staying fresh and green till the day he died), and in his last chapter we find him proclaiming to his Lord, "My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You," for He had seen the wonder of God through his pain and then through God's faithfulness because of the hope that he held in Him that he refused to let go of.

Perhaps God could see Job pictured in these words as the psalmist said: "He is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither, whatever he does prospers"? (Psalm 1:3) Because after all that had happened to Job by his 42nd (and very last) chapter we're told: "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before, The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years."

I wonder if near Job's end, I wonder if he remembered his words that he had spoken about that tree? I wonder if now if he could relate to that tree that had been cut down, but that had now sprouted again? That tree, that he talked of, that had "hope"?

For "This is what the Lord says," (Jeremiah 17:5a,7-8 tells us):

"Blessed is the man
who trusts
in the Lord,
whose confidence
is in Him.
He will be
like a tree
planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves
are always green.
It has no worries
in a year of drought
and never fails
to bear fruit."

The man who trusts in the Lord - is the man that is blessed.

The man who finds his confidence in the Lord - is the man that's like the tree that's planted by the water with roots that fill its thirst by the stream.

He's the man who does not fear. Even when heat comes!

He's the man whose leaves are always green. Even in the off seasons.

He's the man that HAS NO WORRIES. Even in a year of drought!

And because of his trust, because of his confidence in God, he doesn't have to be scared, he has no reason to fear, no need for worry, he feels no need to be afraid; because He knows from whence his help comes from. He knows who holds his life in His Own hands.

He has no worries (Did you notice that?) when drought comes!

He has no worries when it doesn't look good. He has no worries when he can't see how things will work. He has no worries when he can't see the rain. He has no worries when life dries up. He has no worries when life looks as if it's died. He has no worries! For He knows Who it is - that fills the need. He knows Who it is - that sends the rain. He knows Who it is - that breathes life. He knows Who it is - that can make dry bones dance (Ezekiel 37)!!! And he can rest in that knowing, and leave the timing in the hands of the One that he knows to do what He knows He's capable of doing. Whatever the need.
  • God can call forth a dead man from his tomb.
  • Give sight to a blind whose eyes cannot see.
  • Make the lame man to walk again.
  • Open the ears of a man unable to hear.
  • Release the chains of the prisoner and set the captive free.
  • Make a dry land flourish again.
  • Transform a life and change it for all eternity.
Are you having a drought of any kind lately? Are you living now in a year of drought? Has it been two years? Or three? Or more? A drought where:
  • Your job dried up?
  • A relationship did?
  • A dream?
  • Your marriage?
  • Your bank account balance?
  • Your friendships?
  • Your joy?
  • Your reason for living?
  • Your hope that's not happened yet?
Are you in the midst of a drought?

What looks dead or hopeless to you? What doesn't look possible or seems too dark to find light in your world? Where is your tree planted? Are your roots by the water? the river of God? the wonder of God? the Word of God? the hope in Him? Is your confidence found in Him? If your roots are by the stream you'll have "no worries" and have "no fear when heat comes"! You'll "never fail " to be fruitful. You'll be like a tree whose leaves are always green come winter, summer, spring, or fall… green even in the heat or a drought, because we were made to be fruitful (John15:1-8)! We do serve an Awesome God! And then again as Job put it: "At least there is hope for a tree." And I know there's hope for me! because my trust and confidence is in Him and I bend to drink from His springs! There's hope for you too - if your hope is in Him!

I have a friend that wrote to me telling me of the rain that God sent to their land in answer to their prayers after a three year drought. He told me of the thrill that he has been finding in it. Here's what he told me about the rain that God sent to him and his land (I colored his words in green, because that's the color his leaves are in any season!): "I wanted you to write about the correlation between the song Healing Rain by Michael W Smith (see bottom of blog) and the fact that after three long years of drought we just got the rain we have been praying for. God has blessed us with a drought buster! For the first time in years my tanks are overflowing, the wildflowers are really coming out, and the crops are looking beautiful! I know the other day I was sitting outside looking at the wildflowers and I almost got out of my wheelchair and ran, because I was thanking God so much. And I was thinking so much about the song healing rain and how sometimes someone's soul or spirit can be dried and parched and dead and God can pour His rain out on their soul and spirit and the wildflowers just come out blooming. I was sitting out in my yard and all of these thoughts came rushing to me and I knew God was blessing me. The story is not about me, just a story that I witnessed of how the rain has healed my land; for as I was thinking about that suddenly the Holy Spirit moved me to realize I was witnessing a miracle! The same miracle I have witnessed in myself and others! That's why I got so energized suddenly that I did not know what to do! It was glorious and I felt glorious! God just does that to me. I love Him so much and am so thankful for miracles like that! I am so thankful He loves me like that!'

And that, dear friends, is spoken by a man confined to a wheelchair! One who still can dance in the rain! One who still has reason to live! One who still can bask in His Savior! One who can see the spiritual things in the physical. And one who wants to tell of it!

Ah, there's hope for a tree. There's hope for a dry field. There's hope for flowers to come back again. There's hope for the spring after the long seasons of winter. There's hope for the diseased. There's hope for the leper. There's hope for the blind, the deaf, the lame, and for the prisoner to be set free. There's hope for beauty from ashes. There's hope for the dry bones to dance again. There's hope for the dead to have life again. There's hope for you. And there's hope for me. Job had it right when we said, "At least there is hope"!!!!

What are you hoping for and so hoping in? Or rather yet, Who holds your hope? Who do you trust? Where is your confidence found? I know where mine is. And I can say with total confidence, because I so believe, "at least there is hope!" And so I am preparing my fields… and watching for rain!

Thanks dear friend, for being a tool to boost my hope!

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