After long winters in Minnesota, I look forward to Spring with a certain anticipation. The sunshine is glorious and the sound of melting snow is like music to the ears, but the visible reality of new life awakening always looks worse before it looks better. The unveiling of the earth as layers of snow melt away is mucky and ugly. Exposed, the brown grass and bare trees quickly become a sore sight. Mud becomes a burden and the wind teases the clouds with cold air in a way that feels more depressing than negative temperatures on the thermometer.
I wait. Anticipating the spring that’s coming and the promise of beautiful things. But the pace feels behind and when the sky brings a shower of snow instead of spring rain the idea of flourishing greens taunt like a cruel joke.
But regardless of my perception, the thaw continues on. Backward and forward, side to side, in a dance I can never quite figure out. Melting ice flows steadily one day then twirls into a frozen mass the next; the confusing rhythm takes its toll on all created matter and I sway wearily with the trees.
They’re stripped naked, on display for all to see. Snow no longer graces their branches and the mud seems to dirty their vulnerable exposure.
Yet, they stand firm. Though their branches sway or even break, they remain planted.
They wait for the life that’s in the making beneath the dirt. They wait to bear the blooms that come after the long labor of winter. They wait because they know their purpose is to flourish in the light of the sun.
Spring eventually comes and prospers; just because I can’t see the blossoms doesn’t mean they’re not being established beneath the surface.
I may only see mud, but the thaw is taking place. I may only see bare branches, but roots are drawing in nutrients. I may only feel the flux of the sky, but their effects accomplish their purpose.
And so it is with me.
I might not see the fruit of the present, but new life is being formed through it.
There is a time and a season for everything [Ecclesiastes 3:1] and a God whose ways are higher than mine [Isaiah 55:9], so I can surrender my understanding of pace in this season and wait too for the coming of beautiful things. I can remain planted in the promises of my creator who is not idle in His work, even if spring appears to be idle itself.
My toil doesn’t take away or add anything to the season before me but provides space for the blooms to grow. For my job—like the tree—isn’t to establish fruit, but to bear it and flourish in light of the coming sun.
Though I may sway or even break in the dance of shifting winds, I can let my roots grow deep and delight in the ways of the Lord at work in it all. He orchestrates the seasons to accomplish His purpose and He propers the heart. Bringing forth life from dirt and spring from winter, He is faithfully at work in making all things new.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return without watering the earth,
making it bud and sprout,
and providing seed to sow and food to eat,
so My word that proceeds from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please,
and it will prosper where I send it.
You will indeed go out with joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush, a cypress will grow,
and instead of the brier, a myrtle will spring up;
they will make a name for the LORD,
an everlasting sign, never to be destroyed.”
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Kristina Ward