Image by Getty Images via @daylife
That's not a good statement from a girl who lives in a city known as the "Azalea City," but let me qualify my statement. I like azalea bushes when they grow wild and free, as you might find them out in the woods. I do not like them when they have been carved into symmetrical boxes or rounded globes.
That is what prompted the removal of the azalea bush, or perhaps I should say tree, from the front of our house. It was nineteen years ago this week we moved into our house and I don't remember how tall the azalea bush was then, but it had grown to my height and nearly obscured one of our living room windows.
Now it is gone.
My husband, using his bare hands, a shovel, a pair of loppers and a broken axe, removed the huge bush. Most people when removing a 100+ pound root ball, choose to tie a rope to it and pull it out with a truck or a car, but not my husband. He did it with those strong arms of his. I sat in amazement watching as he hacked away at it. Surprisingly, the best and most frequent tool he used was the broken axe.
The axe blade was sound, but the handle was split in two. My husband completely broke the axe handle until it was more like a hatchet with one huge blade. He used that to free the tangle of roots entwined under the azalea bush.
What a wonderful picture that was to me of our Lord.
How often our lives present a tangle of twisted roots and thorns and all we have to offer Him is a broken axe. We look at the mess we have made of ourselves and doubt that the Lord could ever use us in any way whatsoever. Sometimes He must "break us" a little more before we can truly be useful, removing all that will not conform to His purpose. Then in His strong hands and through the power of His might, our broken little axe becomes a mighty tool to accomplish His eternal purpose, not only in our lives, put also in the lives of others. While we may often doubt our own ability, we must never doubt His.
"Being confident of this very thing,
that He which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
"For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of His good pleasure."