Unlikely Signs of Life
I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit.
The old tarnished mailbox hadn’t received even so much as a credit card offer in years, much less a handwritten note or a cheery birthday card. From all appearances, it had been left standing—and rusting, its door agape—long since its owners had moved away or succumbed to old age.
I inched closer to it while walking along the country road, where it leaned on its metal post at an odd angle. I noticed first a loose collection of debris inside—but then a flutter and a burst of feathers, as a bird emerged from its dark hollows with a violent flapping of wings. I was startled. I wasn’t expecting that to come from something as dilapidated as this. I looked again and discovered that a nest was in there, clutching tiny eggs encircled by carefully laid brush and sticks.
This old, stale, rusted mailbox had become the nesting ground for new life.
Is there a dark, deadened area of your life that you’ve been trying to close off and put behind you for as long as you can recall? Too many memories. Too much pain. A world of embarrassing moments and choices that would kill you if people knew. You’ve let this place age and harden and petrify. You don’t want anyone pecking around in there, able to see how dented and damaged you’ve been, how unsightly and stained and misshapen. The only way to handle this part of your life, you’ve decided, is to pull the door shut, seal the opening, prevent anyone from making further entry or inquiry, and leave the darkness in charge to rule over and entomb it . . . because nothing good or hopeful can ever come from that place.
But what if you chose to at least leave the door open, accessible to the possibility of life in Christ? The old, rusted, lifeless places in our hearts can become the breeding ground for surprising opportunities for beauty and bounty, brimming with new life.
When we become willing to unseal the lid on them a bit, allowing God and His healing purposes to become involved, our broken places become birthing places, remarkably able to give people a surge of encouragement, the kind that might just inspire them to hope and trust in God again. His work in us demonstrates to them God’s overcoming power to repurpose these ugly areas for His glory. It helps them see that their own damaged memories, cradled in His warm hands, can still hold signs of life.
What if the areas you want to keep hidden, believing it’s the only way to protect yourself from humiliation or loss, are actually the very places where God wants to originate the most stunning miracles of all? What if your best opportunities to exclaim His greatness to others won’t come from the pristine places but the rusty ones that have received a fresh touch from His Spirit inside?
He can do it in you . . . and then through you.
Life can stir from the most unlikely places, if only you’ll open yourself up to Him again.
Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
What are some of the strained places in your life that you’ve kept locked up and unattended? What’s your real motive for keeping them hidden? Spend time in prayer asking God to give you the courage to open these places up to Him again.
Excerpt taken from Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks.