Isaiah 43: 18-19
Vince was depressed, but undiagnosed. His bipolar depression had caused him to attack a friend and to cut himself. Due to his increasingly erratic behavior, 30 of Vince's neighbors signed a petition to have him removed from the neighborhood and institutionalized.
One of Vince's few remaining supporters was his brother Theo, who sent him some news that startled him. Theo and his wife had just had a baby boy, and they were naming the baby after Vince.
As a depressed person, Vince felt unworthy of such an honor. But he was also uplifted. Vince had taken up painting ten years earlier; he found it to be a great means for expression. So his response to this news was that he wanted to paint a picture in baby Vince's honor.
He chose almond blossoms as the subject. To Vince, they represented new hope for life. The tree was dormant in the winter, but the spring blossoms showed that life was renewing itself, similar in Vince's mind to the life of a baby boy who would be named after him, even though he felt close to life's end himself.
And that's how Vincent Van Gogh painted my favorite work in his collection, "Almond Blossom."
Depressed people feel unworthy. They may harm themselves. They search for something to give them hope in what seems like a hopeless world. "Almond Blossom" is symbolic of that search for hope.
The Lord also gives hope that all is not written, that possibility blossoms again, that renewal is in the works. Hear the prophet in Isaiah 43: 18-19:
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Even when we do not see it, even when we do not feel it, there is hope. God carries our hope when we cannot. He loves each of us and has plans for each of us that exceed what we can imagine. Although we may feel unworthy of this love and hope, that is not God's view of us. He is always doing new things, always making a way with each of us. As you grow your 7-day practical faith and seek something to cling to in your hopelessness, believe in God's renewing power. And consider his creation, the almond blossom.
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