Watching for New

Our home backs up to a wooded area.  Every spring, I try to pay attention to the trees, plants and other growing things coming back to life.  I go out and look at the buds on the trees.  Because it seems like we go from bare branches to small, green leaves overnight.  And I want to “notice” when the transition happens.  

This spring, I’ve been paying more attention than usual, because if feels like it is taking so long to get here.

Over a month ago, photos from the past have popped up in my social media news feed that show our boys outside in the yard, and the grass had already turned green.  I remember having to do the first mowing in April.  Now we’re into May and the grass has just turned green now.  In past years, the patio furniture has already been out by now.  Today it still sits covered and stored.  

It’s been a long winter, and a tough spring.

And the slow move towards summer feels all the longer because of the things we have all experienced together for the last two years.  COVID, isolation, political and cultural division and now a war in Ukraine have all sapped our emotional energy.  I have spoken with people who feel tired and depleted.  

If you feel like this has been an emotional and spiritual “long winter and tough spring,” God has a Word for you today:  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Today, when I step into our backyard, the leaves have yet to appear, but there are buds.  And as the buds swell with the promise of new life, I can see the small lines with hints of green beneath them where it is about to break open.

This is the promise of the Easter season we now experience.  It is the promise that something new is coming.  Because of Jesus, new life is ours.  Because of Jesus, promise and potential are ours.  Because of Jesus, the promise of resurrection is ours.

For those who feel weary, (present company included) we can rest in the promise that the long winter and togh spring will come to an end.  The sun will come out and we will live in the promise of God.  Grace, hope and love are ours.  

Follow the call of Jesus and turn towards him.  There, you will find rest.  And God’s burden is light.  

This devotional was first published in the Pastor’s Perspective column of the Owatonna People’s Press, May 7, 2022

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