Job 14:1-12; 19:25-27
“At least there is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.”
I grew up on a farm in Central Alberta, where poplars, aspens, and birch trees grow along the edges of fields. While there are some big trees, it takes a long time for them to grow, and non-native trees have to be cared for meticulously in order to thrive.
A year ago last winter, temperatures quickly dropped below
-35C (-31F) and damaged some of the trees. However, rather than simply cutting down what looked like dead trees in the spring, my parents were hopeful that the trees might recover. And by the middle of summer, many of the damaged trees had new saplings growing around the base of the trunk.
When Job was at his lowest point—after losing his family, his home, and his livelihood— and he wasn’t receiving support from his friends, he looked to trees as a sign of resilience. He lamented that “a man dies and is laid low,” but he noted, “At least there is hope for a tree.” At that point, Job couldn’t see past his sorrow. But awhile later he summoned up a clear statement of faith: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”
Job then echoed the idea of a stump dying in the soil and yet putting out shoots at the scent of water as he said, “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. . . . How my heart yearns within me!”
God our Father, summon deep hope in us that one day, even after our flesh has failed, that because of Jesus’ resurrection, we too, in our flesh, will see you. In your name we pray. Amen.