post and all photos by Jean Andrianoff,
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
On this bright, sunny day, it’s easy to feel the hope of spring. Though the air is brisk, my daffodils have sprouted, a carpet of primroses is blooming, and our forsythia bush is spreading its sunshine. But I also noticed another sure sign of spring—alder catkins.
Catkins are strange, caterpillar-like flowers. According to Wikipedia, “A catkin or ament is a slim, cylindrical flower cluster, with inconspicuous or no petals . . . flowers arranged closely along a central stem that is often drooping.” Thousands of catkins hang from our alder trees, an indication that spring is on the way.
To me, catkins are a sign of something yet to come, something not yet seen. The catkins appear on the trees first; leaves follow. We enjoy daffodils and forsythia for their own beauty; we appreciate the catkins as indications that something better is coming. They remind me of the definition of faith in Hebrews: “the assurance of things hoped for.” When I see catkins on the alder trees, I know that soon the trees will sprout with fresh, green leaves. Spring, then summer, will follow the bleakness and cold of winter.
At this time of year, we look forward with hope to the seasonal change that God has promised will continue “while the earth remains” (Genesis 8:22). We also anticipate Easter and the hope of resurrection. Just as Christ has been raised, so may we expect to be made alive. For the believer, life follows death, just as spring follows winter. We haven’t yet experienced it for ourselves, but we have the word of reliable witnesses that Jesus rose again and His promise that “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:26 – ESV)
The evidence of things to come, like the catkins, and our experience that God has kept His promise of sending the seasons in their order, reassures us during Lent that Easter is coming. At some point, death will come to each of us (unless the Lord returns first), but resurrection will follow.
Check out another post for today by Lucinda Smith called “My Cross“. Truly a great reflection for Holy Week!