“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end. He will stand upon the earth.” Job 19:25 (NIV)
It was small and almost hidden by the remnants of dead leaves whose brown color still carpeted the cold ground. But the bright purple flower caught my attention.
It was a sign that a new season was struggling to emerge after a harsh Oklahoma winter. It was also Easter. I smiled when I saw the beauty of the flower’s fragile petals because it was a reminder of hope renewed with the resurrection of Christ.
I was hiking that chilly Sunday afternoon with my grandchildren and their parents. The sighting of the flower poking its purple head through the damp earth drew me closer to a time in my life when, like my grandchildren, all was right with the world.
My grandchildren’s delight in the beauty of the still brown and gray scenery, interrupted occasionally by patches of early blooming grass, made me pause and inhale the crisp air that cleared my head, still fogged by winter’s cobwebs. I couldn’t get enough.
As we hiked deeper into the woods and down to a stream, I was transported back to my childhood days, before I was aware that the people you loved could disappoint you and before I understood the deep, abiding love of the One who never would. As a child, I could spend hours alone outdoors. While others formed teams to play ball, I was content to sit or lie silently in the grass. Fascinated by bugs, rocks, flowers and blades of tall grass, I was completely unaware of the passing of time.
That Sunday afternoon, as I climbed the hills and then descended through the valleys with my loved ones, time stood still again. Sounds of civilization were overshadowed by the creek water as it tumbled over rocks and bounced off the banks. The occasional sound of a bird punctuated the air, reminding us that we were not alone.
We skipped rocks in the creek that had recently overflowed its banks after a rainstorm had flooded parts of the area. We studied the intricacies of unusual tree roots that had forced their way above ground, yet had withstood the weathering of time and nature. Fascinated by green moss growing on rocks and tree stumps, we touched the velvet fabric with the tips of our fingers.
My larger, time-weathered hand found comfort in holding the smaller hands of my grandchildren as we walked that day. There was no reason to hurry as we stopped to observe other mysteries, like mushrooms and that tiny flower of hope.
Hope, renewed in something as small as a flower poking its head through the brown soil of life and as basic as God’s love for us, is His promise of better things to come. It came wrapped in a simple hike through His creation to experience the true blessings of Easter, not wrapped in brightly colored foil or synthetic grass but presented unpretentiously in a magnificent way.