Of course, the process is yet unfinished. This work of restoring life to barren branches takes time.
As I marveled at the sight of this tree being reborn after the bitter winter, I couldn't help but see a reflection of my own journey. How often I have wished to be the beautiful cherry blossom, basking in sunshine and floating against a blue sky. To have my life story to be the kind that draws people near, that reveals God clearly without being muddied by my frequent mistakes and seemingly constant doubts and crises of belief.
Yet I take great hope in the fact that the image burned in my mind right now is not of cherry blossoms and blue sky but of something much smaller and quieter—but every bit as beautiful. It is the miracle of rebirth, often happening so slowly that it goes unnoticed until suddenly a place of death and emptiness has been filled with life and the fullness of grace. So many days I think I am going nowhere, that my life and character are no more a reflection of God than they were yesterday or the day before that. I wonder how anyone can see Him amidst all my stumbling and fumbling along this journey of life and faith.
Yet I believe that not only does my Creator take notice of my painstaking, not-always-forward-moving, not-always-pretty pursuit of growth and character—He is also the one who is laboring day after day to bring it about. And somehow, when all is said and done, He will hold me up against the blue sky and declare me beautiful.
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3bWell, maybe I will be a maple and not an oak, but oh the hope of being planted by the Lord to reveal His glory.