At the scent of water

A while ago, someone cut down the elephant tree.  No, that’s not a new species!  It’s just the way I think about a particular tree growing in a field near my home – its grey, fissured bark is so reminiscent of elephant hide.  I was sad to find it reduced from a beautiful old tree to a stump a couple of metres tall.  But when I passed the other day, lo and behold, shoots are emerging from the top of the stump.

 

Many years ago, in the midst of his afflictions, Job encouraged himself by looking forward to the sure and certain hope of resurrection:

For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease.  Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.

                                                                                                                                    Job 14:7-9

Earlier this year, after the Lord took my parents home to be with Him, their bodies were laid to rest in the ‘Non-conformist Section’ of the town cemetery.  Looking round at the surrounding headstones recently, I noticed again how many familiar names were there, those of the Lord’s people I remember from years past.  What a lot of activity, if I may put it that way, there will be in that corner of the cemetery when the Lord Jesus returns!  And not only there, but throughout the world in places where the smallest atom of one of His redeemed people may be found, wherever, whenever, and however they died. 

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you should sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.      1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 

‘For ever with the Lord!’

Amen, so let it be!

Life from the dead is in that word,

‘Tis immortality.

Here in the body pent,

Absent from Him I roam,

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent

A day’s march nearer home.

 

My Father’s house on high,

Home of my soul, how near

At times to faith’s foreseeing eye

Thy golden gates appear!

Ah! then my spirit faints

To reach the land I love,

The bright inheritance of saints,

Jerusalem above.

                        James Montgomery