Today I noticed new growth emerging in the middle of the battered and mangled palms of the Bismarckia tree in my front yard. It’s been a month now since Hurricane Ian arrived with fury in SW Florida and left our region in a mess. The rotting debris from the storm still lines all of our neighborhoods. Ian’s effects are inescapably present in our eyes and nose at all times even though most of life – at least for us in Sarasota – has largely resumed to normal again.
I think it’s fair to say that life can be like a storm. It comes in at us so hard, roaring and blowing, just like a hurricane. Although we usually survive the sudden impact, life storms also leave a huge mess. We can be all torn up even though we are still standing.
I’m wondering if maybe your life looks like my palm tree today. You can see the new growth emerging yet can’t take your eyes off the battered and marred parts that are still so present in your life. If so, you are not alone. I stand in this post-storm emotionally battered space with you. It’s easy to look at what’s damaged and visibly marred and broken.
As the Psalmist writes, “Why, my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed in me? Put your hope in God” (Ps 42:11 ). Here’s the good news you can cling to – God’s not done with your story yet. Lift your eyes and look closer, peer beyond what’s most obvious. You might just see the new chapter emerging, unfurling, reaching higher and upward beyond all that’s broken and tattered. You might just see brand new hope growing right there before your eyes in the full sun.