Mother Nature seems to be going rogue these days. She’s off script. Last week it was warmer in Wisconsin than it was in Florida. Temperatures have been in the eighties one day and the forties the next. A couple weeks ago I stepped outside at 7am, rake in hand, to rescue our fragile evergreen trees from the snow that was bending their branches to the ground. It was a winter wonderland. Only to find myself outside again a few hours later without any trace of snow around. For a second, I wondered if I had been dreaming.
I did love those unseasonably warm days last week though. It gave me the opportunity to start preparing the garden beds around our house. This year it’s particularly exciting, because it’s the first Spring in a new house, so I have no idea what all is going to pop up.
It never ceases to amaze me when those tiny specs of green start peeking out from the dry, hard ground this time of year. Ground that has been beaten down by months of harsh conditions. Yet, it still finds a way to open to the new life that can’t contain itself. And because it is open to this new life, the garden grows, transforms the look of the yard, and brings great beauty to the world.
In the month of April reflection in Joyce Rupp’s book, May I Have This Dance, she compares the human spirit to a spring garden. She says, “If growth is to happen, it too (the human spirit) must be made ready. The human spirit must be opened up if God’s goodness is to grow there. Open minds and hearts are ready to receive the abundant life God constantly offers.”
How often our minds and hearts become like the beaten down soil. Hardened and closed off as a result of life’s challenges. Repeated seasons of unmet needs, unanswered prayer, and discouragement can weather us. Before we know it, we aren’t who we want to be at all. We close ourselves off to the goodness of God within us and in others. We suffer because of it, not to mention the people around us.
No matter how significant our hurts have been, there is always hope. There is hope that situations will change, people will change, we will change. We need to pray for openness to the healing hope of newness. Ask God to heal us of our hardened hearts by showering us with the warm waters of His presence and His promise of hope. That’s the Easter message.
God of the Resurrection, God of the living,
Untomb and uncover all that needs to live in me.
Take me to people, events, and situations
And stretch me into much greater openness.
Open me. Open me. Open me.
For it is only then that I will grow and change.
For it is only then that I will be transformed.
For it is only then that I will know how it is
To be in the moment of rising from the dead.