My 3-year-old daughter is quite fancy.
The other day we were putting the chickens back into their pen for the evening and she ran over to the wild plum tree and said, “Look daddy, the tree has beads on it.”
She was of course referring to the fresh buds beginning to peak out from the life-less looking limbs. Each year, in early spring, the bushy tree is the first to put out its fresh white buds.
I’ll always remember the first year that she and I had our photograph taken together underneath that blossoming tree. Both she and the little tree were budding and blooming together — full of life.
The end of winter is near and we are anticipating the spring. We look around and see signs of life beginning to pop out. New, yet familiar birds are traveling back and visiting our yards each day. Nature is stirring and the creatures are waking from their cold slumber.
We ourselves have felt the darkness of the season. Not a soul has missed some form of illness over the long winter months. We’ve been clustered inside due to cold temperatures, yet there have been brief moments of relief as the temps have momentarily risen. With all this we’ve each contracted contagions from one another, and graciously passed them along. The illness makes the nights long and our work unbearable. How long will this sickness contend with us?
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “The earth mourns, and withers, and is weakened: the world fades away, the haughty people of the earth languish. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse shall devour the earth, and the inhabitants suffer for their guilt:” (Isa 24:4-6).
How very true are the words of the ancient prophet. We look to nature and see it struggle for the fullness of life it was meant to possess. We know that it was created very beautiful by God in the beginning, yet we also know that it suffers ugliness because of us — the inhabitants — who were meant to tend to the creation and return it back to God as his priests. The everlasting covenant was broken, both the creation and mankind lost the glory God first gave. Now we suffer under the sickness of sin and the pain of death. Who will save us from this darkness?
Praise be to God that he has sent a Redeemer, a physician, to heal both us and the land. The good news is that the man Christ Jesus has atoned and repaired that which was broken, he has renewed the covenant and is bringing order out of chaos. He has already begun to heal so many of us who were infected with the decay of sin, even as we were dead in our trespasses.
Now we anxiously await his return, not for him to make new things, but for him to make all things new. So remember to not lose heart or grow faint as your await the return of spring, the fresh life of the Savior. Look around and see many signs of life — the budding trees, the signing birds, the smile of a child. Look to Jesus today.
For they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will harvest (Isa 40:31, Gal 6:9).