“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys, I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” -Isaiah 41:18-20
There are times when I think fall is my favorite season. I love the crisp weather, beautiful leaves, thanksgiving, pumpkins, good books by warm fires. Every year though, about this time, I remember that nothing beats spring. The days start to get longer. The trees begin to bud. The earth begins to stir from its winter slumber, new life waiting to come forth. There’s something about it that is good for the soul, something that brings hope.
Of course, I don’t think that this accidental in the slightest. Creation is God’s tablet and the seasons are the story that He has written on it. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made.” -Romans 1:20 Spring stirs our souls because God intended for it to stir our souls. Essentially, He shares the Gospel with us every year, using daffodil blossoms and budding willow trees to paint the most beautiful story board. He brings life where there has been death, light where there has been darkness, and beauty where there has been ashes.
Spring is beautiful but it is only a reflection, a mere shadowing, of the beauty of what it represents: the Gospel. Unlike spring blooms which will eventually wither and fade once more, for those who have been saved by the Gospel, new life has come to stay. The miracle that God works on the earth is nothing compared to the miracle He works on the souls He saves. God chooses people, He saves people, and He changes people. Forever.
I was reminded of the beauty of this at Church last Sunday where we had several Baptisms. The people were all different ages from different backgrounds with different stories of how God saved them. But as they stood up to give their testimonies, they all had a common theme: God had brought them from death to life and they now lived to love, serve, and glorify Jesus Christ, the King.
As I sat and listened to their testimonies, I thought about how the Gospel never gets old. Seeing and hearing stories of how God saves and changes people never, ever gets old. It struck me that maybe heaven will be a little bit like that. Of course, the most wonderful thing about heaven is that we will be with God forever, but we will also be with each other forever.
Perhaps, part of the joy of heaven will be like the joy of Baptism Sunday. Perhaps, part of the glory will be in hearing all the myriad of ways that God has saved all different kinds of people from all different times in history. We’ll all be there, each with our own story of salvation, declaring together that we were lost, but now found, condemned, but now forgiven, dead but now alive, overflowing with praise and every tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. What a joyful and victorious celebration that will be.
So, as I look forward to spring of 2013, I await it with a special delight. I praise God for the way He uses all of His creation to speak His message of love and grace to us. I thank Him for the spring He has brought to my own life and many others, making ways in our deserts and streams in our wastelands. And I eagerly look forward to that glorious Day when life will never fade, to that spring which will never end.