There’s a great verse in Isaiah 6 about a stump. The Lord has just gone on a tirade about the destruction which will be visited upon the unrepentant denizens of Jerusalem. The land will be destroyed and its inhabitants sent far away. The remains will resemble the stump of a great tree that has been chopped down. But, the final verse of the prophecy offers unexpected hope “the holy seed is its stump (Isaiah 6:13).”
With the weather finally softening bit, I have been resuming my paddle boarding excursions, primarily on Wiggins Lake in Gladwin. If Wiggins Lake could talk, I imagine it could say a thing or two about stumps. Quite a number of them dot the shallower portions of the lake.
Right now, we’re still waiting for things to get beautiful here in Gladwin and Beaverton. The trees are just about to blossom, the grass has only started going green, and the flowers remain few, though more appear daily. But, let me tell you, those stumps are glorious right now. Poking out of the water, they are teeming with life: moss, reeds, saplings: you name it and it probably can grow on one of these stumps.
I have always had reservations about the idea that destruction has to happen for new life to spring forth. I suppose it comes down to the truth that some losses never seem to balance with whatever goodness comes about in their wake.
Even so, the stumps of Wiggins Lake are a stunning demonstration of the tenacity and persistence of life in the face of destruction. To quote the renowned, though fictional, Professor Ian Malcom in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, “Life finds a way.”
Furthermore, God is glorified in this stubborn persistency of life: the way tiny trees grow from partially submerged stumps in a still icy lake, the way the Christians of Paris sang hymns even as the Notre Dame Cathedral burned, and the way a man executed on a Friday walks out from his tomb the following Sunday. All life belongs to God and God’s life is persistent. God’s life will find a way.
More than bad things happening by design, I hold to this idea: that God’s life will always find a way. We are not afflicted by sickness, bereavement, and hardship because there is some lesson we can only learn by suffering. Rather, evil is a reality in our world, something we all must contend with at one point or another. And yet, none of these things can stamp out the persistent life of God. That life always remains, always grows, and always finds a way.
Don’t believe me? Try reading about this thing call Easter. Or, take a paddle out to the stumps of Wiggins Lake. The story is the same.
About the Blog
In this season of plague, flood, fire, hungry cats, and Advent, we invite you to reflect on the words (such clever words!) of the Prophet John in the book of Revelation.
Perhaps you have encountered the #Liturgisaur on Instagram or Facebook. He is a small, green, pants wearing, one armed dinosaur who makes the rounds in Gladwin County and beyond, highlighting the various ministries of Christ the King Lutheran Church.