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There Is Hope

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again.” Job 14:7

The tragic figure of Job symbolizes misery, depression and despair.  Crushed by grief, covered with boils, tormented by friends and ridiculed by his wife, he represents all that could possibly go wrong in this life.  Job wasn’t exactly rivaling Zig Ziglar for a positive mental attitude when he said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”  He goes on to say that man appears like a flower and is cut down. But then, out of the midst of his doom and gloom monologue, there is a little word that rises to the surface of his depression.  It’s called hope.  There is this creation of God—a tree—that is capable of regeneration.  Cut a tree down, and it’s not over.  Just a scent of water is all that’s necessary to awaken the branches and leaves to life.  You can cut hope down, but you can’t cut hope out of the tree. 

The world needs hope.  Poet Ellen Bass wrote, “When grief weights you like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief…”  We are weighed down by the obesity of grief with the ravages of hurricanes, with the shock and sadness of terrorism, with the threat of a nuclear conflict, with the millions of acres charred by wildfires, and with increasing multiple mass shootings in random sites across the country.  The world needs hope.  When prospective mothers—bellies protruding in their third trimester—check in at abortion clinics, when opioid suicides surpass combat deaths among military personnel, when homeowners walk away from the entirety of their life’s dreams because of underwater mortgages, and when underage drinking has become normalized among adolescents, we cry out for hope.  

Mankind can survive the most abominable of circumstances if a ray of hope flickers somewhere on the horizon.  A person can endure profound pain and unthinkable loss if he or she can cling to a shred of hope.  One slim shaft of hope that pierces a cancer patient’s dismal outlook can instantaneously cause a drawn face to burst into smiles.  An entire country besieged with an aggressor’s attack can erupt in joy hearing that the slightest hope of deliverance is on its way.  That’s what this Gospel is all about. With Armageddon approaching, we Christians love to focus on judgment.  We may feel it is more meaningful to talk about the wrath of God coming down on this godless society.  We get intrigued by the vials and trumpets, the plagues and the widespread death, the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. There may be time for that, but we have a much bigger job.  We are in the hope business, not the hell business!  

Back to the text in Job.  There is one more point to make.  When the tree is cut down, it still has roots that sink into the soil.  The tree is a picture of the church.  “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.”  Luke 13:18-19.  No one can kill God’s church!  You may suffer loss, you may be dealing with some vicious attacks, you may be going through some hard times right now.  Keep believing!  The scent of water can cause life to begin to stir once again.  

Spread hope.  Speak hope into distraught, restless lives.  Be a beacon of hope to the depressed.  Instead of a doom and gloom prophet, be a voice for radiance and joy.  Be the epistle known and read of all men.  Don’t just represent Jesus—you can BE Jesus to a lost and dying soul!

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Reader Comments (1)

I just finished praying, crying my eyes out. I got all 'settled' once again with my laptop 'n coffee, and read this, and started weeping again. The article is good.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSydney Heimericks

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