by Jeff Stratton
Think about symbols of life…optimism…hope. A stump doesn’t exactly come to mind. But that is exactly what Isaiah spoke about—a dead stump. In fact, several Bible translations even call it the “stump of Jesse”. The great tree of David’s royal line, a symbol of power and life, had been chopped down. From a human perspective, all hope was gone. But Isaiah did not speak from a human perspective. He spoke from God’s perspective. I doubt that Isaiah realized the fullness of the story—that the little twig which grew out of the stump of Jesse would one day bring food to the hungry, healing to the sick, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and life to the dead. I doubt he understood that the tender shoot would one day branch into a rugged cross, bringing salvation and freedom to a sinful, dying, hopeless world. You see, God does not view stumps the same way we do.
The little twig which grew out of the stump of Jesse would one day bring food to the hungry, healing to the sick, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and life to the dead.
Charles Dickens told of such a woman in his story Great Expectations. Miss Havisham’s life had stopped at twenty minutes tonine on her wedding day, when she received word that her groom had jilted her. Years later, the molding wedding cake still sat on the table, the decorations covered with cobwebs. She never removed her wedding dress till the day she died. Her entire life was defined by that moment—even all the clocks in the mansion pointed to the moment of her tragedy.
Sometimes we find ourselves doing the same thing. The problem is that we tend to focus on the pain and defeat of the stumps in our lives, instead of choosing to focus on what God can bring from the stumps. The part that matters is not the chopped-off, dead part…what matters is the new shoot growing from that old, dry stump. God wants to give new life and a new future!
If this Christmas season finds you struggling with despair, there is hope.
Christmas is a season of hope, and we Christians are the people of hope. We have hope because we have been given hope. We have been given new life. We have been redeemed. We have been given a second chance. And we have hope because we know that the story is not over yet—Christ will return again!
So if this Christmas season finds you struggling with despair, remember that because of God, there is hope. It is not over until God says that it’s over. Because of a shoot that grew from a hopeless old stump, there is hope.
Only God can bring healing when your heart has been torn in two. Only God can rebuild shattered dreams. And only God can bring new life—and salvation—out of a dead stump.