Today is the release day for the NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible and what better way to celebrate a gardening book’s spring debut than a devotion celebrating spring! Enjoy this excerpt from the Seasons theme, the first week of daily readings in the Garden Stories section.
Read: Job 42:5
Thicken the Plot: Psalm 27:14; Psalm 67:1 – 7; 1 Peter 1:3 – 4
If you want to understand the ways of the Lord, plant asparagus.
Early in spring, the asparagus bed is just a bed, a plain patch of dirt. But leave for a weeklong trip, and upon your return you may find the tender spears have shot up to over three feet tall! Where there had been nothing, now triumphant stalks stand proud and graceful, bursts of life from barren ground. Amazing! These are not precious little tips peeking through the soil, but stems strong and plentiful, a full plot reporting the week of warming weather. There is nothing new in this story, especially if you are a seasoned gardener, but it springs up two points: First, that we can hear spring stories like this — seeds sprouting, bare trees leafing out, flower buds swelling to bloom — but when we see them, when they are our personal experience and when we personally stand in awe at their appearance, that is another matter altogether (Job 42:5). We know; we believe! Life has burst up from the sleeping soil before our very eyes and sends joy, resilience and wonder surging through our soul.
Secondly, that the garden stewards the story of spring, the resurrection story: What was dead comes back to life. The moment simply speaks to us of Jesus’ resurrection, an event the returning array of asparagus imprints on us with a deeper intensity. The bare plot turned vegetable crop shows us new birth and a living hope (1 Peter 1:3 – 4), a graphic and delicious account of death to life.
The hosannas of the lilacs, can you hear them shout and sing? The greening of the grass. The leafing of the trees. How could anyone not see what’s happening, how could anyone miss it? There is nothing subtle or cryptic about it. Who wouldn’t be a believer, watching breathlessly in reverential awe, as unfathomable wonders, one after another, reveal themselves to us?
— Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, Gardening in Eden, Seasons in a Suburban Garden, 2003
Over and over the spring garden proclaims the way of God’s salvation (Psalm 67:1); new shoots and vibrant leaves keep us in the company of the redemption story, reminding us that God has blessed us with his salvation (Psalm 67:6).
Photo Credit: ‘Purple Passion’ asparagus makes garden devotions spring to life
© 2014 Shelley S. Cramm