Trees...in Barren Places
“I will plant trees - cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir and pine - on barren land. Everyone will see this miracle and understand that it is The LORD, The Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:19-20 NLT)
Barren land. When I read this verse, I immediately thought of a village outside of Port au Prince, Haiti. The landscape in Onaville is like moonscape; all rocks, no soil and very few trees. Our friend Pastor Noel felt The LORD led him to this place. As his friends, we have come with other teams over the last few years to serve this barren landscape community. We’ve seen church buildings and water distribution stations built, and water wells dug, all through the love of Jesus Christ. And we have seen the Church in Onaville grow. As we partner with Pastor Noel and The Green Church, we have seen people experiencing GOD’s redemption first hand.
After reading this verse from Isaiah 41, I wonder if we should ask GOD to change the physical landscape in Onaville, as a sign of what He is doing in the lives of people. It would be a miracle, bringing glory to GOD. Could He do it? Of course! He has done it before. A part of Israel was a barren desert, and today it is a lush forest. GOD brought His people back to Israel, and they have planted over 240 million trees. It’s incredible, but GOD turned part of the Negev Desert into the beautiful, thriving Yatir Forest.
Look beyond the trees in this picture, to the barren land. Do you believe GOD changed the landscape? I do. I believe He can turn Onaville into a mountainside village of beautiful trees and lush vegetation, just as He has brought hope, healing and redemption to this village. And when it happens, all will understand GOD alone did this, and He will receive the glory for what He has done!
How about the barren landscape in your life, or in the life of someone close to you? Barren land is harsh, dry, cracking ground. When we stand in barren places, we lose hope. Can GOD change the barrenness in our lives?
“There is the vast stillness of desert solitude, we are gradually converted, unmade, and remade.”
– Wendy M. Wright
In the broken and desolate places, every distraction, and worthless thing is stripped away. When we're there, we need to remember GOD redeems. He, who has restored a land, will restore our life. What was once barren can become a beautiful, new life. This is the story of Isaiah. People who turned from GOD, and found themselves in exile, turned back and they were redeemed. When we’re alone, afraid, and in a barren land – we can confidently turn to our LORD. This is the story of redemption JESUS wants to write in every life.
“You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends. He has done this through His death on the cross in His own human body. As a result, He has brought you into the very Presence of GOD, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:21-22 NLT)