Stumped

Stumped

After a morning of chopping, sawing, digging, and prying it is still unmoved!

At first I thought it would be an hour long project. That was before I dug down and looked at what was below the surface.

Let me back up. I cut that tree down over a year ago to make way for planting grapes, blackberries and blueberries. Since then I have repeatedly cut away new growth emerging from an ugly stump barely six inches across. So I decided I would get rid of the thing. How hard could that be?

Before I cut it down this tree did not stand out as different from the others. But on the morning I decided to get rid of its stump I discovered a real difference in this tree just below the surface where no eye had seen. Beneath the surface there were huge roots, nearly as big in diameter as the stump itself stretching in every direction. After cutting each one (with considerable effort) it still would not budge! Obviously, deeper still there are roots holding it in place, tenaciously to the ground in which it once emerged as a tender, young sapling.

This week we learned of yet another mass shooting at a Naval yard in Washington. Other weeks we are faced with healthcare problems or the threat of government shutdowns and war, or a recessionary economy. We struggle with broken homes, wayward children, or a shocking diagnosis from the doctor. The list goes on. How can we be prepared for such a world as this? These problems seem intractable because there is more to them than meets the eye.

I believe the answer is in that tree stump. The word “stumped”, meaning there seems to be no easy solution to a problem, emerged during the days of building our national rail system. As the tracks expanded great trees were encountered. There was no way around removing the stumps but that was easier said than done. The setting of the sun on many days left the workers “stumped” with how to remove them.

Jesus came not as a general, a president or a philanthropist because God knew the solution to a troubled world could not be found in war, politics or finances. Our world is “stumped” because we have not learned to look beneath the surface. When we allow God to probe our hearts and reveal to us our broken human nature which is beneath all our problems we are taking the first steps. Only the God who made us, and who loves us can root out all that keeps our lives and our world broken.

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