Each spring in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the season is announced first by snowdrops, then by crocus blossoms. The sloping lawns around the Parliament Buildings are adorned by beds of the cheery crocus, purple and golden. For those of us who stroll by, they are welcome reminders that the winter freeze is over, and the blustery, mild days of spring have arrived.
The prophet Isaiah also witnessed such a lovely adornment of the barren lands.
Isaiah 35:1-2 – The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. (ESV)
The prophet's word is not only a promise of joy and restoration after foreign attacks on Judah and the exile of its people, but also looks to the future, when God's people will be in need of hope.
Spring blossoms and new leaves on the trees are an annual reminder for us of the transformation that will come when Jesus reigns, and we, His believers, are glorified.
Romans 8:22 – For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (ESV)
Just as Isaiah's readers dreamed of a return to their homeland, we also long for Jesus' return, and for our God to build His heavenly city and bring joy forever for His people.
Joy can be a hard thing to come by sometimes! Things can seem dark indeed, whether from poor health, broken relationships, worrisome finances, loneliness, or a rampant pandemic. The good news is that joy can be built up and enhanced. How can we do that? Joy is different from happiness, in that joy comes from knowing that we have a secure relationship with the God who is in control of all things. We can encourage joy in others who need help, letting them know that they don't need to be afraid, that God is on their side and will save them. We can receive the healing that joy brings, submitting our gloomy moods to the Lord. As we receive His joy, we will be enabled to radiate His generosity and love. Also, we can chase after our joy with others, for we are meant to be in Christian community with others, sharing joy in song and laughter.
Spring crocuses bring joy to winter-weary hearts, but joy is meant to be experienced daily! In the Lord, we have a deep-seated contentment, knowing Who we belong to, knowing that in this life, we are just passing through, on our way home. We are certain of the heavenly welcome waiting for us with its eternal joy.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank You for the beauty of spring and the reminders of Your provision of new life and changed hearts. We gladly trade our darkened thoughts and moods for Your joy. Aid us in bringing Your joy and redemption to others. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Praise The Lord Who Reigns Above" (Lyrics)