Every spring, I find myself taking a giant deep breath. Almost like I’m letting out all of the secret frustration and stress built up over a long, long winter. It’s like my body can finally relax, take a sip of fresh air and physically feel the air fill my lungs. It’s restorative. Brilliant. One of nature’s greatest “coming home” sensations. One of God’s greatest gifts to his people.
The flowers come out again.
People come to life.
Interactions are more positive, upbeat.
Everyone’s just happier.
Winter was tough this year. I found myself in a new city, six months into a new job that was challenging me mentally and physically to the core, testing my limits and teaching me so much in such a short amount of time. Every morning, it felt like all I could do was drag my body out of bed, and just hope that I could make it another day without collapsing under a figurative layer of snow. Or a real layer, for that matter. At the same time, I was training for my first half marathon, thinking big picture about life and love and relationships, and it just seemed like the sun would set before I ever made any real progress.
And then came April… A few surprising days where the sun would shine, and hope would resurface. And I’d realize how important it was to take a step back. To put away the screen, to just listen. Listen to my body, to the people in my life, to the sounds of nature and the whispers of God that were trying to get me to slow down. To breathe in, out, in, out. And to realize that I simply can’t handle it all on my own. And I’m not supposed to. God is there in the midst of a hard winter, and he’s always going to be there, to guide us. To uphold us when it feels like the entire universe is crashing down. He’s there to lift us up, to remind us to breathe, to focus on life. To restore our soul when it feels like everything is freezing over.
I’ve been stuck in the book of Isaiah for what seems like an eternity. But fittingly so, it feels like God’s been promising me spring for a very long time. A spring that doesn’t just mean a change in season, but a change in heart, in pace of life. And so when I stumbled on these verses, I couldn’t help but smile. And breathe a little deeper. And focus on feeling that deep sense of spring gratitude that comes every year, when you finally see the first round of flowers erupt from the earth again.
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
the splendor of our God.
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.
The parched ground will become a pool,
and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.
Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish
where desert jackals once lived.
Isaiah 35: 1-7
What I love about these verses is the beautiful way in which God’s promise is compared to the return of spring. The way they compare God’s love and hope for his people to quenching of the thirsty, strength for the weak and tired. A flourish of hope to restore our souls. So today, this is your reminder to take a deep breath, love. You’ve earned it. You may just need it. And remember that God’s always there to remind you when you need to take a step back. And just breathe.
Happy, happy, happy spring.