“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
There is a tree right around the corner from my home. I love this tree. I pass by her every day. The seasons of my life are reflected in her colors.
When I drive by her in the winter, and see her emptiness, it reminds me that a lot of beautiful things are being prepared even when I can’t see it, even when things border on ugly. I’ve delighted in her throughout enough seasons to know that her barrenness now is only a part of her story. A necessary part. I would kind of like to skip the winter months of my soul because I prefer spring feelings to winter ones, but I am learning to embrace the winters, knowing that God is at work in unseen, yet powerful ways.
A month ago, I noticed that the bare branches had begun to explode with buds of green. New life bursting forth from what seemed so empty and sad, forlorn even. I was reminded that even when I feel darkness in my bones, and can’t seem to remember spring, it will come. As sure as the seasons, and as faithful as my God, what seems dead will resurrect with new life.
The tree teaches me to submit to the seasons of life and to the work that each one uniquely accomplishes. I want to be able to surrender to the work of winter, where things are being remade, renewed and reborn in the dark, unseen places. I want to allow winter to be winter and not force spring too early, because, well, that’s not possible.
I can’t make a rose bud bloom any faster than the course her Creator has ordained. So I wait and do the work of sinking into the season of preparation and internal change knowing and anticipating the spring season, while being present in this winter one.
“With Jesus, resurrection is always in the air,” says Paul Miller.
And so I breathe in this resurrection air, and feel my lungs expand with hope.