But God’s righteousness will be like a garden in early spring
Isaiah 61:11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.
It’s a gorgeous sunny day in Pittsburgh, so I’m not surprised to read that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter. In fact, along with a wide swath of middle and northeast America, a winter storm warning flashes on my screen for tomorrow and Friday, while United warns me our flight to Houston Friday may be cancelled. What a wise groundhog! Haha. To be fair, Phil has only been right 40% of the time since he began making weather predictions in 1887. (Yes—according to Groundhog Day lore, this very same huge groundhog has been alive and prophesying since the 19th century!)
Though spring may (or may not) take a little longer to show itself this year, we know it will come. Once again, we’ll be able to walk out the doors of our homes without the fuss of snow boots, hats and scarves, heavy coats and thick gloves. Our cars will no longer slide on the ice. We’ll no longer fight the temptation to huddle up at home instead of going out to exercise when the temperatures are in the teens. We’ll no longer lament the beautiful snow turning dirty and icky from traffic and snowplows.
Instead, multi-hued crocuses, snowdrops and hyacinths will pop their heads through the snow and perfume the warming air. We know this will happen in our city.
So, reading much-loved Isaiah 61 this morning, I was struck by the verse quoted above, and the word “will” repeated three times: The Lord will show his justice to the world. Everyone will praise him. His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring.
The plants springing up everywhere will come from seeds and bulbs planted before the winter, I muse. They will be stronger, their blooms brighter, because winter gave their roots time to grow deep. Suddenly I don’t mind the idea of six more weeks of winter. I want my perennials to have time to grow stronger before they pour their resources into blooms and fruit.
And then I wonder what God may be growing inside me through the “winter” of Covid. No, I don’t want it to last one second longer! But, as long as it’s with us, I’m asking the Lord to grow my emotional and spiritual roots deep. To surprise me with “plants springing up everywhere” when we’re through and out the other side of this long trial, and all the others the world faces now.
What good seeds have been planted in your life—their blooms and fruit not yet visible? Can you picture their roots growing strong in this season of “winter” around the world, no matter the external and internal weather where you live? Don’t you long to see the Lord’s justice and righteousness?
What is my part?