I love springtime! There is something so inspiring about the bright yellow bells, the deep purple pansies, and the pristine white blossoms of the Bradford pear trees. Before long, the various colors of the dogwoods will appear, along with the dazzling hues of the azaleas.
There is a sense of anticipation in the air when things begin to turn green, announcing the end of winter, and the arrival of spring. We know something new is coming. I think it’s the anticipation that makes this time of year so special. It’s no wonder some of us get spring fever! Everyone will soon be at the garden centers, and digging in the dirt. We look forward to these new colors, to the new life, and the new growth that will appear all around us.
However, after all the snow has melted, and we’ve pulled back the dead, brown leaves, and we start digging in the dirt, there are other things we can see; things that were hidden. We can see the weeds in our garden, weeds that were there all along, just hidden by a brilliant shower of fall leaves, and later by almost magical snowfalls. For a season or two, we are able to put these weeds out of our sight, and out of our minds. But beneath the dead leaves and the snow, they still linger. All winter they have been hiding, and sometimes growing, in the soil we left unattended.
This could also be a good description of our lives. We can cover up our sin, try to forget about it, downplay it to ourselves until we rarely even think of it as sin, or just ignore it. But, below all our covering up, and pretending to ignore it, the sin is still there. Our neighbors might not be able to see our sin the way they can see the weeds in our yard, but God can see it. Just like the weeds, unconfessed sin can sometimes lie dormant for a season, or grow unnoticed, and reappear when we are least expecting it.
So, as I will have to do in my yard and garden this spring, we must pull back the leaves and unattended brush, pull up the weeds, and prepare the soil for a new season, and a new harvest. The Prophet Hosea challenged God’s people:
“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you. But you have cultivated wickedness and harvested a thriving crop of sins. You have eaten the fruit of lies- trusting in your military might, believing that great armies could make your nation safe.” Hosea 10:12 (NLT)
While the joy and excitement of spring may inspire and give us hope for the new things God is about to do in our lives, may it also challenge us to give attention to the areas where we need to pull out the weeds and “plow up the hard ground” of our hearts. Then, we will be prepared to anticipate what God will do in our lives, the same way we anticipate the coming of the spring season.