I try not to complain about the weather. As a dedicated gardener, I know plants need the rain every bit as much as they need the sun. However, for the past week or so, the sunny South had been anything but. One cold, cloudy, drizzly day followed another in somber progression until I finally succumbed, sadly lamented the lack of sunshine and spent the better part of one day earlier this week in tears.
Yesterday the glorious sphere of light finally reappeared, warming the earth and restoring my customary optimistic outlook. There was renewed activity around the bird feeder, which had been woefully devoid of the happy twittering of my feathered friends on those seemingly endless dreary days. A squirrel scampered back and forth on the deck railing, plotting strategy for an attack on the feeder (which he wisely didn’t try!) The violas planted by my mailbox, drooping after the cold days and frigid nights, began to lift their heads toward the sunlight. Indeed all of us were buoyed by the sun’s return.
The sun shone brightly again today, beckoning me outside to check on my beloved plants. The busyness of the holidays and the recent cold temperatures had deterred me from my practice of walking the property on a regular basis. I began my afternoon by removing last year’s spent foliage from a number of perennials and then went in search of new growth. I didn’t have to look far. Even though the garden may appear lifeless and barren, plants are alive and well, preparing for a new season. Finding these signs of life gives me great joy and fills me with hope, just like it has every year since I first faced the task of cleaning up the beds by myself (see “Consider it pure joy”, July 1, 2014).
As the succession of overcast days left me feeling dejected, wondering if the sun would ever reappear, there are times when a spiritual chill can settle upon us. Worries and fears cloud our perspective, leading us to question the presence of the Son. Yet, just as the sun is there when we can’t see it or feel its warmth, the Son has promised to be with us always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). He will guide, sustain and protect us through all the seasons of our lives until the day when we dwell with Him in the City that will not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God will give it light and the Lamb will be its lamp (Revelation 21:23).