The desert and parched land will be glad. . . . Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom. (Isa. 35:1–2)
Images of desert and winter seem to be an odd pairing. While desert connotes sand, cacti, dryness, lizards, and scorching heat, winter implies frost on the windshield, back-breaking shoveling, grayness, leafless trees, and brutal temperatures. I’ve never lived in a desert, but apparently when copious amounts of rain falls on a desert in a short period of time, an unattractive landscape is transformed into a colorful, resplendent panorama overnight. Similarly, when a yellow crocus pops a curious head through the snow, it announces that winter will not have the final word. In both instances, what seems unending and never changing changes. Parched land receives rain and rejoices; the crocus blooms and signals the end of a season of icy dominance.
The unexpected and delightful blooming of the desert when linked with the sudden appearance of the crocus (which signals the first note of winter’s swan song), speaks to the reality that conditions can change, sometimes quickly, unexpectedly, and beautifully. The prophet’s audience was weary of prolonged, strong messages of God’s displeasure, but these words injected a bolus of hope and transformation into the equation.
When life resembles an endless stretch of burning sand and life-sapping heat or an interminable horizon of frozen intransigence, a sudden shower of grace breaks the drought and the appearance of hope signals a forthcoming thaw from a grueling season.
Be attentive to fresh expressions of joy and grace during wearisome seasons of life.
Ed Rotz works with PastorServe, a coaching network to strengthen pastors. He served The Wesleyan Church for forty-five years as a pastor and district superintendent.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.