For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.
Job 14:7-9 (NRSV)
These words were spoken by one of the greatest sufferers of all time, Job. Job suffered the loss of everyone dear to him as well as all of his possessions. Just when you think things couldn’t get worse for a person, Job was stricken with cancerous boils all over his body so that his only relief was to scrap himself with a piece of broken pottery. Yet Job’s life stands as a testimony that one of the most potent forces in the universe is hope. When one loses hope, the world seems to stop. Dreams come to a screeching halt, and life defaults to survival. The days seem to drone on in sameness without flavor or sparkle. When you lose the hope that things can change or improve, you lose the point of your existence.
Yet we have this marvelous Scripture that shocks us out of our morbidity and reminds us that there is hope. Paul spoke of hope as one of the three pillars of the believer’s life, (faith, hope, and love) and we see these seeds of hope throughout all of Scripture.
1 John 3:9 affirms that reality that God's seed abides in us. If you are a true follower of Jesus, satan can assault your fruit, steal your leaves, and even burn some of your branches, but he can never take away the seed God has impregnated within you.
The first chapter of Psalms talks about a tree planted by the rivers of living water. That which is sown, rooted, and sourced in God can never be moved. We must however, hunt for the source of living water that through the din of life often seems to elude us. Just as a tree extends its roots in search of irrigation, we too must shoot out our spiritual feelers until we catch the breathtaking scent of living water.
Every time you open the Bible, or pace back and forth talking to God, or weep on your knees, or even lift up a song while driving, you are shooting out your roots. Every time you get up in the morning and do the right thing again, you are shooting out your roots.
It is amazing what happens to a human being when they catch the scent of water.
Recently I saw a godly friend praying for people at a leadership meeting. When he prays, he has a strong sense of God’s heart for each individual, so his prayers are specific and accurate. I witnessed as he prayed for a women, he offered up a prayer of hope specific to her situation. Time seemed to freeze into a moment where life returned to her eyes the way someone is awakened out of a deep coma. I believe that she caught the scent of water. Her persevering roots were rewarded with God’s elixir of hope.
Abraham Heschel said it best when speaking of this kind of awakening:
But then a moment comes like a thunderbolt, in which a flash of the undisclosed rends our dark apathy asunder. It is full of overpowering brilliance, like a point in which all moments of life are focused