29 February, 2016

Encouraging spring thoughts

Until I moved to Japan, I lived 27 years in southern Queensland: warm temperate to sub-tropical climates. A country where most trees keep their leaves all year round and the seasons aren't so distinct.
I was unaware of how special the early signs of spring were. Of how it was to long for spring during a long cold winter.

Then I moved to Sapporo, which has permanent snow on the ground for about five months of the year. We moved there in the middle of winter, so our first spring in Japan was a thing of wonder. Tulips are still among my most favourite flowers as a result of that experience.

This morning, as I rode my bike to the grocery store, I spied these plum blossoms quietly exuding their radiance on the edge of the road. So I stopped for a moment to appreciate what they mean (and snap a photo). Spring is coming!

When I got home I did a quick word search of the Bible. Flowers and the season of spring  don't actually feature much in the Bible. Generally flowers are depicted as frail, temporary things and this characteristic is then applied to humans.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.    Surely the people are grass.The grass withers and the flowers fall,    but the word of our God endures forever. (Isaiah 40:7-8, NIV)
Luke uses flowers to encourage us to not worry, but rather seek God.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12: 25-31, NIV, my emphases)
Yes, don't worry. Instead trust in God whose Word is eternal. A good thought for what could be a time of worry and losing my heavenly focus.

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