It was a beautiful sight. Hidden underneath the brush of dried brown leaves and mulch, a little green tip was appearing. The little leaf sparked joy and awoke a new hope.

“Finally,” I whispered under my breath. “The peonies are coming in.”

Just months earlier, under fading red and orange leaves, I’d carefully planted a few bulbs. Peonies were new for me, and I was an emerging flower gardener. Most of the vegetables in my garden had been easier and gave off an immediate reward: Plant a seed, water it, and in a few weeks, watch it start to grow. But the peony worked differently. I need to planted what looked like dead lumps into the ground and trust that come springtime, flowers would eventually come.  

I’d followed the peony bulb directions, but I grew nervous as winter blew in. It was a particularly hard winter, one full of inches of ice and freezing temperatures. Each time I looked out over my snow-covered lawn, I thought about the peonies and wondered how on earth they were going to survive. It was so cold, and so harsh. And besides, what I’d planted looked dead anyway.

Eventually, the seasons started changing and the snow and ice began to thaw. Broken limbs got hauled away, the salty sidewalks were swept. Seasoned flower gardeners said they were right on time, not too far from Easter, when the green stems where I’d planted the peony bulbs began to appear. The new life was a beautiful sight. 


Sights of Springtime

Over the weeks that followed that first glimpse of green, the leaves grew taller and stronger. Soon, tiny buds with different shades of pink appeared. 

As I took in the beauty, I stood in awe. Mother Nature’s resilience had many lessons to teach. In God’s amazing way of creating the world, He created dormant plants to survive the harshest of storms and emerge after springtime rains. 

We were made to survive

Like the peony bulbs, we too were created to survive under suffering and pain. Faith in God means we take what looks dead in our lives—the dormant bulb of loss and pain—and trust that if we plant ourselves in fertile soil, it can one day bring new life. This looks like talking to God even when we want to be silent. It means opening His Word when we'd rather toss it out. It means gathering with community and being vulnerable and authentic, even when we'd rather stay away.

All of these rhythms create fertile soil in our hearts. Even when our circumstances bury us and we face heartbreaking situations, the hope of springtime says there's another way.

Nothing can stop God’s promises for our lives. Seasons of winter will come in this life, suffering is a guarantee. And while we won't know how often nor how long our winter seasons will last, may the peony bud remind us: God can bring new life—faith, hope and love—out of anything. 

Prayer: Father, I am ready for spring. You know the places of my heart that have faced winter: places that are hard and dry. But help me believe today that new life can come even from my most challenging circumstances. Help me persevere and stay on the lookout for signs of new life. 

"For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God." -Hebrews 6:7 ESV

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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