The promise of a new beginning

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Wriiten by Nicole Wood

One of my favourite flowers is the beautiful pink or white cherry blossom. You might have seen images of the cherry tree, or ‘sakura’ in Japanese, lining the streets of Japan or Washington DC in the US. The Almond Tree is related to the cherry tree and is native to the Mediterranean - it is also the first tree to blossom in spring or late winter. This specific tree is mentioned in the Bible a couple of times, the significance of which is profound.

A couple of years ago I lost a friend in a motorcycle accident. He didn’t even make his thirtieth birthday. In this time, I had so many questions to ask of God. To be honest, I expected Him to listen and comfort me, but I really didn’t expect Him to provide any clarity regarding the tragic situation. A few nights after the accident, I read Jeremiah 1:11 where the Lord asks Jeremiah what he sees. And Jeremiah answers Him, ‘The branch of an almond tree’. In that moment I saw a picture of the beautiful cherry blossom in front of me, and upon doing a bit of research, found out that the almond tree is the first tree to blossom in the spring. Astonishingly, the Hebrew word for almond, ‘shaked’, is associated with watchfulness, or literally, ‘the awakening one’.

In that moment when God was showing me the almond tree, He was also showing me how my friend had just awakened to a new life, how this was just the beginning of a new spring for him. And moreover, God Himself was watching to see that it would be so.

Jeremiah 1:12 (NIV)

‘The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”’

What have you lost? Perhaps you have also lost a loved one, or a dream, or maybe your health or your job. God is saying to you that it is not the end. What might seem final to you, could actually just be the start of something new and beautiful.

As the last cold of winter wraps itself around us, I hope that you can still see the promise of new life in the symbolism of the cherry blossom. I hope that it will remind you of spring and the promises of a God who always watches to see that His Word is fulfilled in your life; a God who makes every dead branch blossom again – beautifully – because He has indeed made everything beautiful in its time (Eccl 3:11).

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