There were some really warm days of winter in 2012. March in Northeast Ohio had some days in the 70 degree range and I believe one or two days hit 80. I had to mow the lawn a couple of times before April! We’ve occasionally had springlike days in the third month of the year before, but not for such long stretches. Early spring didn’t avoid us altogether, however. When April came the temperature dropped a bit closer to normal. We even had a few snowflakes a couple of days ago – nothing to get the shovel out for. This crazy weather doesn’t just affect people. The trees react to it as well.
As a result of the warm weather, the trees began to bud way back in March. I don’t suppose trees have calendars that tell them when it’s safe to come out for spring (They’d have to be made out of their cousins, and that would just be wrong). Usually it’s like spring catches trees by surprise and in a matter of days they are in full leaf. I took this picture of the tree in my front yard this morning. It has looked this way for a month now. It may be anticipating spring, but the arrival cold weather has convinced it to hold off. If trees leaf too early the buds could die. So the trees have been in a holding pattern for the better part of a month, waiting to land in spring so they can get on with life. I have a disturbing image of a tree holding out like a child that has to go to the bathroom. It wants to do what is natural, but there will be dire circumstances if it does what it wants to before it’s time.
Waiting is difficult to do, even when we want what is good. There’s lots of waiting in the Bible: Abraham and Sarah for their first child, Noah waiting for rain, David waiting to be made king, the Apostles waiting for the arrival of the Holy Spirit . . .
. . . And what about Simeon in the Temple in Luke 2? God promised him death wouldn’t come until he would see the consolation of Israel. Why couldn’t God have let Simeon be born later so he wouldn’t have to wait so long? I have no idea. But, I do imagine him sharing godly wisdom with people who worshipped at the Temple. I wonder how many people may have brought their sons to Simeon, hoping to have him be pronounced the Messiah. I wonder how many people had known about Simeon and overheard his speech about Jesus and the discussion with his parents recorded in Luke 2. I wonder if Mary and Joseph had heard about Simeon and so his words prepared them even more for their exciting journey ahead.
I wonder about my own journey. What do I have to wait so long for God to fill me in on what he has in mind for me? I want it to happen right now, but right now may be too soon. I’m tempted to take the next thing that comes along, but the Holy Spirit speaks to me clearly when it just isn’t right. Blooming too soon could be disastrous, after all. So, I wait knowing that God always brings springtime.
Does it feel like God has you in a holding pattern?
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4, NIV)