This year’s bluebonnets have nearly gone. Families got their photos, passersby took in their beauty, and then like the Easter Bunny, the bluebonnets left without a trace. Even I couldn’t help but be excited over the three flowers that sprouted in my yard. But after the hard rains, they are now gone. But their departure got me thinking.
The Bible is lush with plants. The Scriptures utilize floral imagery all throughout its pages to reveal God’s message and truth to His people. Even in the earliest passages, we find God utilizing trees, fruit, and vegetation to portray life, fertility, and prosperity (See Genesis 1–2; Psalm 1; John 15; and Revelation 22). Yet, we also find counter-images such as famine and infestations that portray death, infertility, and poverty (Genesis 3:17–19, 4:12; Leviticus 26:14–20; James 1:10–11). Even now, the flowers of the field proclaim God’s message if we would listen. So consider the bluebonnets.
Did you know that our state flower is an annual bloom? This means it goes from seed to flower then back to seed again in preparation for a future bloom. It is always a pleasant surprise to see the flowers emerge to life in the spring. Sprouting in the month of March, they cause us all to pause for a second and admire their beauty. By mid-May, the plants form seed pods that start green, but gradually turn brown. Around that time seed pods release the seeds to the earth, and then you and I forget about them until they surprise us expectantly unexpected again next spring.
Herein is the theological beauty of the bluebonnet—those seeds go to the ground and stay dormant for a season of nearly 10 months and then they spring forth from their previous shells, arrayed in beauty. This is God’s reminder for us concerning the Resurrection—it will happen expectantly unexpected and will be gloriously beautiful.
Easter has come and gone like bluebonnets, but the resurrection of Christ is not simply an annual celebration. The fact that Jesus is the firstborn of the Resurrection provides us with a daily hope that the seeds planted in the ground will one day spring forth in full bloom. The initial seed of the gospel brings about sweet life to any who turn to Jesus and follow him (Matthew 13:23). And while those blossoms demonstrate the active power of God to create beauty, those blooms will eventually grow from life to death and then seeds will return to the earth where they began. The summer comes and scorches the ground; the fall marks the coming of winter, which then brings death. But spring is coming.
It is easy to grow tired and weary and to allow the fiery trials of life to discourage our efforts. Death is a constant enemy and Satan is an ever-present threat, but because of the resurrection of Christ, they operate as those already defeated (Hebrews 2:14–15). This is why Paul encourages us, after proclaiming death’s defeat, that we are to “be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). The work we do is difficult. Proclaiming the gospel and following Christ comes at a great cost. But remember, while seeds sown will eventually give way to death, they will also expectantly unexpectedly burst forth to glorious life and to a spring that will never end.
So be encouraged and encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18), for while the grass withers and the flowers fade, God’s Word will remain and accomplish what it says. Then it will be as George Herbert so beautifully put it, “Death used to be an executioner, but the Gospel has made him a gardener.” Eternal spring is coming.