It was a long winter. Now the rainy season creeks surge with chocolate milk water and daffodils brighten otherwise dormant forest floors. One morning, when the rain ceased and the sun blazed, I looked up to see the cloud-white blossoms of the dogwood trees. Their sight calmed my heart. Their existence reminded me that God is still in control. Despite the long winter and the dark days and the chaos of a fallen world, spring came. The dormant forests will bloom again. The gray skies will dissolve once more. Blessedly, renewal always follows dormancy.
In Ezekiel 34, the Lord promises a season of renewal for Israel. Throughout the chapter, He uses the “sheep and shepherd” metaphor to illustrate the relationship between Israel and its corrupted leaders. When the poor leadership of the shepherds causes His sheep to stray, the Lord says, “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them” (Ezekiel 34:4-6). I picture a people abandoned in the desolate places where drought and famine rule. I picture a people weary and confused, wondering when rain and peace will return.
The Lord sees all of this and promises to gather them up and protect them. He promises to renew their land and their hearts. He declares, “I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing” (Ezekiel 34:26).
Perhaps you experienced a long winter. Perhaps, though spring blooms outside your window, your heart remains dormant even today. The circumstances of life have left you feeling abandoned, weary, and confused. Take heart and wait on the Lord. He sees you and He cares. He will bring showers of blessing. He will renew you.
Consider the blossoms of spring. All winter long, a process occurs which prepares the buds to break through and bloom again. We cannot witness this process and at times winter feels endless. Then, overnight it seems, the buds break through and things are made new. Though you may not sense it, God is moving and working to renew you, even now.
Related passages: Psalms 27 and 46