One summer I had the great idea to transplant a few elephant ear plants from a local school to our front flower bed at home. The fact that the school was begging me to take them should have been a sign, but elephant ear plants hold a bit of nostalgia with me. My papa had a huge bed of these at their house, all the cousins and grandkids talked about how great his roses and elephant ears were. I thought it would be for me a sweet reminder of the time at my papa’s. I could not have been more wrong! At first, they were great. They grew tall, thick stalks, and giant leaves just as I remembered, but later I noticed the problem. Elephant ears spread! Tiny shoots started popping up everywhere. The elephant ears were invading the entire flower bed! Nothing I did stopped them, they were relentless in their pursuit of total flowerbed dominance. After a few years of struggling to contain them, we eventually dug them up. But even that didn’t work! The root bulbs were all throughout the ground and just as soon as you thought you had them all gone, a few days later another shoot would pop through the ground.
While frustrating for me as a homeowner, I also recognize that this is a beautiful reminder of God’s promise to sustain His people. In Isaiah chapter 10, we read about the coming invasion of Assyria on Judah. To the Assyrians, nothing could stop their army. They were proud, arrogant, and not even Israel would stand in their way. They marched closer and closer, moving from village to village before finally being stopped at the last moment, just outside the holy city. Isaiah likens the destruction of the Assyrian army in chapter 10:19 to the clear-cutting of a forest, total devastation, reduced to nothing.
Israel knew they were trouble and stood no chance against Assyria. But God always has a plan to bring people to the saving knowledge of himself. Isaiah says, “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (10:20). Through God’s judgment and his mercy, the Israelites learned not to trust in any earthly leader but their obedience and trust should be in God alone. Even in the midst of the turmoil that surrounded Judah, Isaiah focused on the point of hope for the remnant, and he encouraged them to trust and believe that God was in control. The sign for them, amongst all the devastation, was a “shoot coming from the stump of Jesse and from his roots, a Branch will bear fruit” (11:1). The coming One would be a source of life and blessing, removing the curse and setting things right in perfect justice.
Just as those elephant ears continued to pop up after all attempts to completely remove them, nothing will stand in the way of God’s covenant with His people. Be encouraged today by the truth that God is in sovereign control of all things, including your life! Pause, and look closely around you. Amidst all the chaos you may feel that is present in your world, there is hope, a beautiful shoot springing up from the apparent rubble of your life, reminding you of God’s presence in your despair. What are those reminders that He’s placed around you to remind you of His faithfulness, goodness, and the love that He has for you?