George Bowers Sr.: Spring bulbs illustrate God’s work
Thanks to an unusually early warm-up, crocuses and some daffodils are now in full bloom. The vibrant purples, yellows, and whites brighten up the landscape that is largely still dominated by browns and greys. These early harbingers assure us that spring is indeed on the way and that winter is waning.
The bulbs from which these flowers have erupted have been buried beneath the surface all year. During December, January, and February they remained out of sight and for most of us, out of mind. Blankets of fallen leaves and later, wintry snow seemed to seal them under the surface forever.
All the while, however, these vigorous bundles of energy were not only living but growing. At the very moment the snow was accumulating a few inches above, they were mustering strength for their most glorious event of their year. Drawing sustenance from their roots beneath and moisture from the soil nearby, they were actively working below the scenes preparing for their magnificent debut.
As the soil temperature warmed ever so slightly, they began to thrust their shoots upward through the barren Earth toward the sunlight above. And then one day, it happened. They broke through the surface of the ground and officially announced not only their survival and victory over winter, but their intention to change their world for the better.
Not long after, as their leaves lengthened and their flowering stalks grew, the buds of potential began to swell with each degree of heat until eventually their vegetative sheaths could hold them no longer and their vibrant blossoms burst on the scene! In some instances they surprised us appearing in unremembered locations, and some that we discarded last fall are now reborn and joyfully flowering.
Spring bulbs can and should be a great encouragement to each of us. At times it seems that God has forgotten us and that all is stale and dead. Sickness, sadness, or grief has chilled our hearts and the landscapes of our weary lives seem barren and lifeless. Day after day, we trudge on through snowdrifts of gloom and mere existence wondering if we will ever feel the warmth of spring again.
But under our surface, God is at work. Out of sight and sometimes even out of mind, He is diligently preparing our hearts for growth and beauty. His Holy Spirit faithfully cultivates our souls drawing nourishment from God’s precious word, from other people, and from God himself. He drinks in the moisture of courage and endurance even from the very events that seem to overwhelm and cover us like the snow. All the while, he works, and beneath our surface we are growing, although we may be completely oblivious to it.
Until one day, a smile pokes through. We are drawn upward by the warmth of his love and we begin to sense an observable change. We move out of our dark and cold winter into a warmer period of growth and transformation. There are still some chilly nights and even some dustings of snow now and then, but by and large, the worst is past! And before we know it, our hearts begin to bloom with joy that becomes obvious to all those around!
As we enjoy the blossoming of the long dormant spring bulbs of daffodils, crocuses, tulips and hyacinths, may they remind us of God’s hidden ongoing work deep in our hearts. May we remember that even in the darkest and coldest nights, he’s still present and still working all things together for good for those who love him and who are called according to his purpose even as he promises in Romans 8:28. Let us submit to his transformative work deep within our souls that we might experience joy ourselves and bless others with the fragrance and beauty of his grace displayed through us.
George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored seven books in addition to contributing to “The Wonders of Nature 365 Devotions Celebrating God’s Beauty” by Worthy Inspired. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.