Isaiah 11: 1-2
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…”
I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving powers; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by then and made blind to the shoot that will come from the stump.
When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence – the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends – I will always remain tempted to despair.
The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown young man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. But the promise is hidden in the shoot that sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices.
– Henri Nouwen