By Tim Shaw
When we moved from New England to Pennsylvania, we arrived in July, in the middle of a hot, dry summer—most plants were dead, and most lawns were brown. But the following spring, thanks to the hard work of our home’s previous owner, it was amazing to watch many perennials burst forth all over our property. Over the years, I have grown to enjoy cultivating the plants in my yard, and I like spending time outside working to have a nice lawn (not as nice as my neighbor’s, but she hires a landscaper, so…). Not only is spring a welcome respite after winter’s cold, but the season also reminds me of different aspects of God’s character.
God the Creator loves beauty. He could have created the universe in black and white, but instead he created the color spectrum. The enormous variety of biological species points to his unlimited creativity. It seems every year I am surprised by the beauty of the season when spring arrives. Recently, I returned from a business trip to Norway, and the contrast of landscapes—each beautiful in its own right—is something I will never forget. I left behind the snowy, monochromatic mountains of Norway for the vibrant, colorful spring of southeastern Pennsylvania (there was something rather Tolkein-esque about the whole thing!). The beauty of God’s creation is one of his gifts for us to enjoy.
God the Sustainer is in control. This year, things warmed up in February, and our daffodils came up early. Then, temperatures dropped below freezing in March, and those flowers died before blooming. This reminds me that nothing happens in my life outside of his guiding will. Whether I am making decisions about where to plant daylilies, which job offer to accept, or how to respond to an issue in my family, I know God is in control of life’s circumstances: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). I am thankful that I can rest in his loving care and provision.
God the Redeemer is making all things new. Even though the world is full of beauty, sin’s effects are evident everywhere. That patch of ground where I cannot get grass to grow reminds me of areas of my life where spiritual growth needs to take place. That hideous plant that keeps coming back, no matter how many times I chop it down, reminds me of the ugly words I too often speak. The deep-rooted weeds that want to overtake my petunias remind me of sin patterns I continually battle against. But, thankfully, the Lord is working to make me a new creation, and his Spirit brings life-changing power. The sure hope of new life in Christ is a beautiful promise.