Bearing the Marks

Isaiah 43:1,2a “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.”

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Prairie dwellers anticipate spring, especially when the snow has fallen and blown for several months. This past winter tenaciously grappled with spring long past its appointed time.

Finally the warm temperatures, bird song, and mini suns on dandelion greens offered the perfect setting for an evening amble.  After a day in training sessions, the freedom of movement and mind was revitalizing.

Two years previous we were unable to meet for our annual session due to flooding. Last year the evidence of the previous season was rampant, though the dangers of the flood dissipated nearly ten months before.   Earthen dikes, rock walls, mud-crusted and flattened grasses were littered with sticks, branches and rubbish. Many trees appeared to be lifeless. And few people were choosing to be in the trash-strewn park.

As I meandered along the pathway, I noticed the difference a year later. Spring green grass stretched upward to the heaven.  Mother and Father Goose tried to corral their ‘teenage’ goslings that preferred to swim their own direction.  Youth aimed at disc golf ‘holes’ as they cavorted irreverently in the outdoor cathedral.

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Then I noticed them. At first I had only seen the lovely spring color and leaves, but my vision now centered on watermarked trees.  Small waxy plate-leaves rustled on the towering cottonwoods. Delicate petals covered the flowering plum and apple trees. Gum-coated pine cones were forming on the spruce.

Yet all of them carried a mark which bore testament to high waters.  Life continued, moved forward, advanced.  But even with evidence of life-bearing sap, the scar of floodwater was there.

Sometimes the streams of life rush around and nearly overwhelm us. The debris in the churning floods batter and beat us. Even when the chaos ebbs, the standing water drains us and impairs normal growth.

But the trees continued to sprout their leaves. Within their nature, they trusted that chlorophyll and sunshine would bring life. At first, the stirrings were feeble and unsure. By the second season, the leafy canopy shaded the park.

So when we bear marks on our lives, take courage and faith that our lives have purpose.  Though it may feel pointless, continue to press deep into Him. Pray. Soak in His words. Be silent in His presence. Growth and resilience become visible when we depend on God.

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