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New Life in an Old Stick

2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Three years ago I bought a stick...

It wasn’t just any stick. It was supposed to be a sapling, a starter tree that would become a huge weeping willow. Our yard in the back stays pretty wet, and we had just a lost a tree in a storm, and this sapling cost just a couple bucks from the ‘Arbor Day Foundation,’ so we hit the button.

Several weeks later, a stick came in the mail. What we’d expected to look like a tree was just a stick. It was about 18 inches long, wrapped up tight with some damp gooey stuff, and it was brown with absolutely no sign of life whatsoever except for a couple delicate, web-like ‘roots’ hanging off one end. The instructions that came with it told us not to worry, that it was supposed to look like that and, rest assured, if we planted it, it would grow. Within a week to 10 days we should see signs of life.

We selected a location near the back fence and dug a hole in late April. As I said, our yard stays kind of wet, so when we dug that hole, there was actually some standing water in the bottom. I thought that might be an issue, but I stuck that stick in the wet clay as directed, covered it up, and waited for the promised growth.

A week passed. I went out to check on our new tree, and it looked exactly the same. We had a dry twig sticking out of wet ground. Two weeks…still a twig. Three weeks…no signs of life. We assumed that the ground had just been too wet and our tree had drowned before it could ever grow (either that or the Arbor Day Foundation was a racket!). But since it wouldn’t matter one way or the other, we left the stick ‘planted,’ just in case.

I’m not sure how much later – I didn’t mark the day on the calendar or anything – but it was many weeks later, like July, that I noticed a little something going on down by the base of that stick in the ground. The color had changed a bit, and something looked like it might be starting to sprout out of the bottom! Sure enough, every day that sprout got bigger and greener, and then another sprout began to grow. The original stick itself was still as old and dead-looking as could be, but from the base, new life was growing!

That was three years ago. This spring, as I look out our kitchen window, there’s a young weeping willow tree, over 10 feet tall by the back fence. I’m excited to watch, as the weather warms again this year, how much more that tree will grow and develop. All of that potential for life was there, from the start, in that stick that I bought.

That tree reminds me of me. At times my spiritual life appears dry and dead. Sometimes it just seems like I can’t live out this life with God very well. I feel distant. I feel ineffective. My soul seems dry, with no signs of life. It’s on those days that 2 Peter 1:3 give me hope. Because, no matter how things might feel or appear, “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” God has planted within me everything I need in order to live a godly life with Him!

His power.

His life.

In me.

Of course, it takes the right environment to develop that life, just like with that twig. Time with God in prayer and the Bible, involvement with other Christians, worship, study, and more are the soil and sun and rain of the spiritual life. But the life and power is God’s, growing and developing in me.

Are you feeling dry and lifeless in your soul? Worn out? Frustrated? Discouraged? Seemingly drowning in life’s struggles? Please know that if you’ve stepped into relationship with God, He has planted His life in you. His power is there. He desperately wants you to grow into a beautiful creation. Don’t give up. His power…His life…are in you!

I’m excited to watch how you’ll grow and develop!

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