I have never felt spring so keenly as I have this year. We had spring last year, meteorologically speaking, but all of 2020 felt like always winter and never Christmas, or is that just me? This last year was so, so hard, full of loss, and change, and fear. So while the world seems to finally be “coming to” after a year of hibernation, I am searching until my eyes are tired for the signs of life, the quickening that is the hallmark of this season of newness and renewal. Outside, but in my heart, too.
““Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
But then I am forced to ask myself: am I ready to let go of the “winter”? You would answer resoundingly “YES!”-that would be my initial thought, also. But I am still holding on to bitterness, frustration, resentful of the year that seemingly the locusts have eaten-forgetting that I am also promised:
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.”
I have to let go to go on. And sometimes I am tired. I feel like everything is always changing and I’m not a gambler: I’m ashamed to admit that I’d always rather cling to a known evil than trade for a potential-but unknown-good. Some of it doesn’t make sense. What if things change and they’re not better? What if I let go and I never stop falling?
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.”
I have a blackberry bush in my backyard. It was planted by the previous owner so I don’t know much about it. Except that it has gorgeous huge berries and loves to be pruned. That astonished me-I’m not sure why, as it clearly is biblical.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Any branch that doesn’t show signs of life has to be cut off. It seems so damaging and shameful to the plant, but it is one of the most beneficial things you can do. The first year we lived in our house I didn’t know to prune it. It bore meager amounts of berries, and I was satisfied because that was all I knew. But then I found out that it needed to be pruned, in an almost merciless manner.
And that next spring I, with fear and trembling, hacked off every dead vine. It was scary because you prune *before* the plant flowers, before the promise of fruit. And I was scared I had killed it. But I had to let go.
He never lets go. I don’t have to understand-but I do need to let go. It’s the only way to flourish. And that summer, after all that cutting and removing, it came to life. It produced many times more berries than it had before. Bigger ones, too. But first I had to give in, give up, let go.
Spring is about renewal, but it is also about letting go. I have to pull up everything dead that’s standing in the way-and I have to do it by faith. Those dead things are at least *something*-what if I give them up for nothing? But I
have to choose to walk by faith.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
If it’s for the Father’s glory it is an absolute, ironclad guarantee that it WILL come to pass. I just have to let go. And as spring begins to flower-inside and out-I’ll be praying that I can bear much fruit.