Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Out of the ashes

Photo taken at Mt Mee National Park

If you look closely at this photo you will see blackened pieces of branch and a residue of ash at the base of the tree. There had been a controlled burn-off in the area.  The tree's upper limbs and branches were completely denuded of foliage and bare, apparently dead. Yet as we can see, already there is new life sprouting- the reddish-green leaves you can see in the photo are actually shoots of the same tree sprouting from the underground base and root system. The flourishing little shoots are heading into the sunshine.
Australia is a hot, dry country and we live with fire hazards. Many of our native plants are created with mechanisms which utilise fire for growth. Some require the heat of a fire to open their seed capsules. The nutrients from ash enrich the soil and provide the right conditions for new life.
Whenever I see a tree stump sprouting, or buds emerging on a dormant, wintered branch or as in this case, new life proceeding out of trial, it never ceases to thrill me, as a powerful symbol of renewal. For God has promised us in His word that He does restore and renew what is so often broken and damaged and seemingly lost. Not only that, but in a life committed to Him, nothing that we have suffered or experienced is of no consequence but instead is used to grow us and the lives that we are in contact with.
God can take a hopeless life and give back hope. He can mend a relationship that seems irresolvable. And He can take a life of sin or hurt or disappointment and turn it into a life of love and purpose. All we have to do is ask Him.

Isaiah 61: 1-3

" The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor."

Joel 2:23-25

Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.
 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

" Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

No comments:

Post a Comment