“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.” —Isaiah 11:1
A stump is what is left over from what was formerly a living, thriving tree. But the tree was either cut down or died and fell over. All that remains is a stump, which is the wood of death. In the world of forestry, however, some trees are known as “stump-sprouters.” These trees, such as the American chestnut, actually sprout from their stumps. For these trees, new life sprouts from the wood of death.
Jesus was “nailed to a tree,” the cross. Crucified, Jesus died in agony upon the cross, the wood of death. But Jesus, the Shoot, sprouted from the wood of death, the stump of the cross. He rose from the dead and is risen in glory with the Father in heaven.
The world looks at many situations and sees stumps. These “dead” situations may be a ruined marriage, a town ravaged by a natural disaster, a drug-addicted person, or a neighborhood riddled with violence and poverty. In the eyes of the world, these situations are dead. In the eyes of faith, Christians look at the same things and see the seedground for the shoots of new life rising from the dead in Jesus. “To Him be glory forever” (Rm 11:36). “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54).
Prayer: Father, give me eyes of faith to wait in the joyful hope of Your life, not in the gloom of darkness and death (see Is 9:1ff).
Promise: “Blest are the eyes that see what you see.” —Lk 10:23
Praise: It seemed that Pedro and Maria’s marriage was dead, but by the grace of God it was saved. Now they pray together daily.

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