When Dead Things Come to Life: A Story of Learning to Live by Faith

We have a camellia bush in our front yard that refuses to take root. Every season, it fails to bloom. At one point, we even hired a landscape company to replant it to see if that would restore it to life. Its sad, withered leaves only confirmed the reality that it was dying.

Six years ago, our marriage was like that camellia bush—hanging on for dear life, refusing to bear fruit. When the doctors confirmed that we wouldn’t be able to conceive children, it felt like we had been cut down to the root.

Underneath that weight, my wife and I were dying. Yet just when we became lifeless, God breathed life into our dying marriage.

This weekend, six years after we were told that we wouldn’t be able to have children, six years after it looked like we wouldn’t survive, we brought our fourth child, our first daughter, home from the hospital.

And as we pulled into our driveway, God wanted to remind us of His faithfulness.

My wife startled me as she yelled, “Stop the car!”

“What?” I replied, fearful that something was wrong with the baby.

“Look,” she said, as she softly nodded toward our front yard.

There, on a dead camellia bush, was a beautiful, pink bloom.

Sweet Sara James

Holding my daughter this week has been one of the most humbling experiences in my life. I am holding God’s promise in my hands—a living promise where something dead once was. (Read more about that in the post, “Pray for your Daughter”)

Her name has great significance in this story as well.

Sara was my maternal grandmother, a sweet, kind caregiver who died suddenly from a stroke in when I was fifteen. James is my wife’s father who passed away at the age of forty-three from a battle with cancer.

We named her Sara James in their memory, so that their legacy lives on.

Faith is Essential to Life

When I think about my daughter, one word comes to mind: faith.

Common sense and popular culture may say that faith is naive, that it has no place on Wall Street, that it is only for weak-minded fools.

Common sense also says that dead wombs don’t yield children and dead plants don’t yield flowers. I have witnessed both with my own eyes and felt both confirmed in my own heart.

While common sense tries to suggest that God isn’t real, that all of this is simple chance, faith reminds me of something much bigger at work.

Faith is the foundation that I must build on. Everything else is sand.

Faith is the foundation that I must build on. Everything else is sand. via @matthamsr Click To Tweet

I’m learning that faith is the most essential component of my life, but…

Faith isn’t magic. I’m not suggesting that you should stand in your yard, demanding that God produce a bloom before your eyes. Pray for His blessing, then carry on in the messiness with the belief that He will respond.

Faith is active. God moves in us as we move with Him. We start with Him, in faith, then we move about completing His work. There are times when He calls us to stillness, to rest, but He will always move us from that place into action.

Faith yields clarity. The closer you draw near to God, the more you’re willing to humble yourself before Him, the more you’ll clearly see Him move. When He does, tell the stories. Not as a testament of your faith, but as a testimony of His faithfulness.

When you consider the reality that faith pervades every facet of your life, you’ll learn that God is in everything. And then, you’ll see with the eyes of faith. That is the place where dead things come to life.

He Breathes Life Into Dead Things

I’ve been in that place where I was surrounded by dead things. And I’ve learned that God is the only One who can bring dead things to life. He did it for His son. He’s done it for me.

God’s story is one of overcoming insurmountable odds: giants falling, seas parting, and walls falling. While many would say that the Bible doesn’t apply to your life today, that it’s an old, religious book that is no longer relevant, I would argue otherwise.

God’s story is one of faith.

So what about your life?

Have you invited God to breathe life into the dead things?

Regardless of where you are, regardless of what fears you might face, regardless of what dreams you might have, I challenge you to choose faith.

Invite God to breathe into your life. It’s not magic, He will always call you to action, but from that place, you’ll gain clarity.

Trust me. I’m holding life where a dead thing once was.

Sweet Sara James

Sweet Sara James



This January, I launched the Redefine Rich Coaching Series. It begins with a free, monthly call to members of this community. Find out more by clicking on this link.

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6 Responses to When Dead Things Come to Life: A Story of Learning to Live by Faith

  1. Missy Gregg-Bailey January 15, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    Yes! “God is the ONLY one who can bring dead things to life”… thanks for sharing! & Congrats! Sara James is beautiful…enjoy every crazy, loud, chaotic, messy, fun, blessed moment of parenting 4!!!!?

    • Matt Ham January 15, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

      Thanks, Missy. We’re having a blast thus far.

  2. Michelle January 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    Amen! The dead come to life. Only God. Beautiful post Matt.

    • Matt Ham January 15, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

      Thanks, Michelle.

  3. Anne Peterson January 22, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    Rejoicing with you on the arrival of Sara James. It’s obvious she has already taken her rightful place in your hearts. Beautiful post, Matt. And here is a pic of sweet Olivia who is very much here, though the doctors said she wouldn’t be. We celebrated her 1st birthday sharing what the year has been like with a group of people who stand with my son and his wife. We were given red bracelets that have a little circle on them with the words, O live. And it’s to remind us to live each day we’re given, to stay in the present. Something I have needed to learn so much so God sent a baby to teach me.

  4. jslopez March 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    Great post, Matt! God is good. Blessings to you and the family.