Since it’s a beautiful day, and I’m officially done with school for the summer, I spent a good chunk of the morning outside weeding and examining the state of my garden. And trying to determine what plants died over the winter and thus need to be replaced. I was thrilled to discover that the dogwood that I thought had died is slowly putting out new leaves.
After last year’s drought and our two week road trip, I was sure that my favorite shrub in our garden had given up the good fight. And as spring came and all the other shrubs in the yard began leafing out while this one remained just sticks and twigs, I thought the dead prognosis confirmed. But, then this morning while wandering the garden – there were surprising signs of life. A few leaves have begun appearing on parts of the plant. Now, the bush is far from thriving, but it’s not dead yet.
And I felt a surge of hope at the realization. Right now we’re nine months into fertility treatments down at Mayo, and still no pregnancy. Additionally, my uncle is in the hospital battling a massive stroke. Life feels incredibly frustrating at times, and it seems like death or the absence of life confronts me everywhere I look in the last few months. And this little bush, which is fighting to survive like the little engine that could, was a brilliant symbol this morning and, for me, also a mechanism through which the Spirit spoke to me. Not a burning bush like Moses, but there was a message for me nonetheless.
God is not done with my journey yet. All is not lost. There’s still hope in the midst of what begins to seem impossible. I have to keep my chin up, and keep the faith. I don’t know how life will come to me or in what form, but I have to keep up the hope that my God is faithful. And Jesus who was raised again to life can raise up a new life from this aging body. This is our greatest hope, because our God has died and rose again – he can bring that same renewal of life to us, and indeed all of creation.