Look down, and you see withered leaves, parched gravel, litter blown in caught on crushed twigs: death, thirst and brokenness. Look up, and you see the tent of love I’m making you, tiny green popcorn exploding each hour to dangle like grapes of gold. Remember, hope is high above your world and only seen when you decide to focus upward to what I’m weaving for you.
Here in Michigan we are excited: spring is here, theoretically! The equinox has passed, and even though the trees and grasses are still dry brown, there are some buds popping out on the branches. And the weather is getting warmer.
I longed for this moment, this time of year, when I was in Ferkessédougou, Côte d’Ivoire, too. And without fail, by mid-March the bare branches of the trees in my yard would suddenly be festooned with flowers. The golden rain trees were my “sacred grove,” the quiet spot where I could meditate for a few hours every Saturday morning. From December through February they were like Michigan’s winter trees, stripped of their leaves. It was dry season, no rain. There was no grass, either. But even before the first “mango rains” would come in March, the green buds would show up in clusters and then, top to bottom, burst into golden blossoms.
This became symbolic of my journey, in many ways. There were long dry spells when it seemed like hopes were being dashed, when little fruit of ministry was being seen. Or the drudgery was just overwhelming. But then there would be these reminders of hope: the Lord is working his purposes even when it may seem impossible.
Maybe you have been going through one of those dry spells during these long months of waiting for spring or for freedom to gather with loved ones, for good news instead of one more crisis or for peace instead of crazy chaos. Instead of focusing on the debris and garbage, let’s turn our eyes upward to catch a glimpse of what our loving Father is creating for us. He is the Master Weaver, who knows how to take colorless thread or dry brown yarn and transform it into something glorious, even when the “rains” have not yet come and all seems hopeless.
We just need to focus upward. Our hope is in him and in what he is creating, while we wait.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Ps. 27:14 NIV)
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. (Isa. 43:19 NIV)