I opened the cupboard and pulled out supplies. Some make sense. They are needed for lessons in a unit. These items aren’t supplied by another kit. Other things seem to be completely random. A piece of paper with some notes on it. Do the notes make sense? This happened as I was doing some planning yesterday. I had to set up the experiment and try it again for myself in order for everything to make sense. Without that – not a clue.
Then I said, “For how long, O Lord?” And he answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” Isaiah 6:11-13 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Astonished, I said, “And Master, how long is this to go on?” He said, “Until the cities are emptied out, not a soul left in the cities – Houses empty of people, countryside empty of people. Until I, God, get rid of everyone, sending them off, the land totally empty. And even if some should survive, say a tenth, the devastation will start up again. The country will look like pine and oak forest with every tree cut down – Every tree a stump, a huge field of stumps. But there’s a holy seed in those stumps.” Isaiah 6:11-13 (MSG, emphasis mine)
Useful is always something God keeps in mind. While I need refresher courses about why I keep things, He has good purposes for all He has made. He doesn’t forget why He created it. He doesn’t lose track of it. He doesn’t file it away. My God is the One with a plan.
Does His plan always make sense to me? No, absolutely not. There’s much in Isaiah 6 that baffles the mind. God calls Isaiah in the most unique of ways. God purifies Isaiah and prepares him for the ministry He has planned for him. God gives Isaiah the message he is to speak. There’s no hugs and cuddles. This is straight up tough. Get it together. God knows the receptiveness of His people – zero. Absolute destruction would occur. But, Isaiah, go speak my message and keep doing it. Wow! If that’s a job description for success, I’m not sure I want that job.
Then there’s the little nugget of hope right at the very end. “But there’s a holy seed in those stumps.” A forest reduced to stumps is a dreadful visual. From lush green to barren. From tall statues to stumps. This picture doesn’t induce hope. In my way of thinking, what once was useful, has now been reduced to useless. Good thing that God’s plan is far bigger than my understanding.
There’s a seed in those stumps. What seems useless is actually useful. What seems destroyed has purpose. Human logic wasn’t required. God had a plan and no one could thwart it. No one would choose Bethlehem. No one would choose a stable. No one would pick a couple who had to travel from Nazareth. No one would pick a baby to be the one to change the world. But that’s my God. He uses things that don’t seem useful to become exactly what is needed. Who knew a stump had purpose!