This is what a gardener lives for. We are now enjoying the first week of Spring; or as I like to call it, “the most wonderful time of the year.” (Sorry, Christmas fans.)
The ground is warming up; the colorful flowers are pushing their way up and reaching for the sun as it lingers longer in the sky. As I watch the growth and unfolding of the new leaves and petals, I am absolutely awestruck at God’s magnificent design. With breathless fascination I witness the dead earth come to life once again.
We have finally passed the vernal equinox, which means we now have more daylight than darkness. Although I still rarely get home before dark, just knowing that the light is overcoming the darkness gives me great joy. Every day now there is something new in the garden, awakening from the winter dormancy and bursting into life and color. I rush home from work in excited anticipation to see what new tree or plant is blooming. My cherry tree is waking up this week! The columbine has bloomed!
Plants slumber, and so do we. If we are not vigilant about our souls, we too will doze off into a winter of suspended animation, where, spiritually, we do little more than exist. This condition of dormancy is neither growth nor death. However, it is not a restorative slumber, as it is when our bodies sleep through the night for rest and rebuilding. No, this slumber I speak of is a dangerous thing. It has me concerned about the church, about friends I know, and even about myself.
How many good works have gone dormant for a season because we have not nurtured them and put some time and energy into keeping them alive? We all have good ideas and good intentions. Some of them have come to fruition, but not all. It has been said, “A dream is only a stray thought until effort and hard work turns it into reality.” It is marvelous how these little bulbs push their way from dormancy to fresh new life.
Dreams are good, and they are necessary. However, the effort to make them a reality is done in our waking moments. It seems more and more that we allow our days to be taken up with just living, not in living well. We just exist. Before we know it, time has gone by and we haven’t done a lick of work for God, as we had intended. We never woke up to do the work that must be done. We are prevented from growing and blooming by the thought that other people will do the jobs that need to be done.
Another thing that happens during our slumbering moments is that we are not aware of approaching dangers. Is the church taking a nap while some of the threats to its existence creep in? We are seeing the world’s influence creeping into the church and into our family life. When the church is indistinguishable from the world, it’s time for us to wake up!
“So it is said, ‘Wake up, you who are asleep! Rise from death. And Christ will give you light.'” (Ephesians 5:14 WE)
Like my awakening winter crocus, I will make the effort daily to reach toward that light. The Son is shining!