We still have some pretty big snow banks that are melting slowly, but we also have a variety of signs of spring and new life. The robins have been back for a couple weeks and are actually able to find earthworms as the frost has come out of the ground to let the worms show up. We have brightly colored crocuses blooming and our tulips and daffodils (we have hundreds) are up and there are buds on the lilac trees and “our” pair of Canada geese that has been coming to visit us each spring for several years was back this week. The wild tom turkeys have started strutting their stuff and the noisy crows are back in great numbers, as are the starlings. The cedar waxwings came through to strip our Mountain Ash tree of its berries.
After a prolonged winter with some heavy late snow in February and sub-zero temperatures in March, spring is finally here. Spring may come early or it may come late, but it always comes! That’s how God set it all up back in Genesis by the way He created the earth and tilted it on its axis, oriented the orbiting moon at just the right distance and placed us in an orbit around the sun at just the right distance. The Genesis account of the fourth day of creation reads: “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:14-18).
Because we live in Northwest Montana, we experience four very distinct seasons. For several months from late fall to this time of spring, much around us is in a state of dormancy and appears dead, but once again we see God’s earth coming back to life. New life is part of the “magic” of spring season, and it is visible all around us. The life and brightness of spring which replaces the bleak “death” of winter is a reminder to us of another reality of life coming out of death, one with eternal implications. Because of sin taking place in the Garden of Eden, death entered God’s creation (Ro. 5:12), and each of us was born with a sinful nature and lived in death (separation from God) and darkness, having declared our independence from God. We now have many centuries of human history to show that this broken world is too big for us to fix. With all our inventions, education, technical advancements and human effort to improve life on earth, how are we doing? What a mess of death and darkness we see all around us.
But, “God so loved the world (of humanity), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). “The Word (God the Son) became flesh, and dwelt among us…” (Jn. 1:14). And He, Jesus, said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). The Creator Himself (Jn. 1:3) took on human flesh (Jn. 1:14) in order to die for us and pay the penalty of sin so that we could escape spiritual death and darkness and have new life that lasts forever. The life He offers is not only one that lasts forever, it’s a hope-filled promise for today. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly (full and overflowing)” (Jn. 10:10).
We are soon to celebrate the very basis of our new life in Christ, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as proof that our sins were paid for and God was propitiated (satisfied…Ro. 3:25) with Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. “He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Ro. 4:25). Paul goes on in his letter to the Romans to discuss how we have been crucified with Christ and buried with Him and raised with Him “so we too might walk in newness of life” (Ro. 6:4). That’s what springtime and the Easter season is truly about—being restored from death to new life. As we trust in what Jesus has done for us, we find that death is overcome and life reigns again. We become “new creatures” in Christ (II Cor. 5:17). We have “passed out of death into life” (Jn. 5:24). God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13).
This season is about new life—new life that goes beyond the annual refreshing of the earth with its beauty. It’s about the new, eternal, abundant life that’s available to us because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Have you experienced that new life? It is available to all. “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Ro. 10:13). If you have never done that, I encourage you to do so—today—for “whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed” (Ro. 10:11 cf Isa. 28:16).