Last week I wrote about the ebullience that spring brings. There is nothing like the soft breezes and warm sunshine to energize our spirits. Our sluggish winter doldrums become lively whirlwinds on a “search and destroy” mission. All of a sudden, we notice that the ornamental grass has not been cut back, that the day lilies will have to push through a mantle of dead leaves to emerge. Leaves caught in the eddies of fierce winter winds have found a refuge in corners of the patio and porch. Dead plants that should have been removed last fall now look very dead and ugly in the bright sunshine of spring. It is time to get out the rakes, the shears, and the plastic bags. It is time to get those long unused muscles back in shape. If we neglect to do the essential clean-up of spring, the flowers, trees and shrubs will struggle to push up through those dead leaves and debris of winter. The trees and shrubs that need pruning will be stunted by trying to send life-giving sap to useless branches. The dreary drudgery of cleaning up brings great rewards in future days.
It is time to clean up
Our nation is in dire need of cleaning up; nothing but hard work and sacrifice will restore it to its former beauty. The winds of moral decay have swept debris into the very fabric of our society; the detritus is literally smothering future growth. Our children, the fresh young shoots of spring, cannot grow properly until the old dead growth is removed.
It is time to prune
Our nation is sapped by financial “dead branches” that keep the vital sap from feeding the healthy branches. We are like a top-heavy pear tree that has never been pruned; everything has been allowed to grow to the detriment of the supporting trunk of the tree. When the spring storms come, the tree cannot support all the extraneous branches, and it topples. Any good nurseryman will tell you that pruning is essential for plant health. Yet, we continue to operate as a government that cannot or will not “prune” its excessive growth; we continue to proliferate hoping that the winds won’t come. We continue to add “new branches” in hoping that the tree can support them and that perhaps future generations can feed them.
It is time to feed
We are a nation that has forgotten that we cannot continue to survive without nutrients. Just as my planters cannot support life without an infusion of fresh soil and fertilizer, our nation needs an infusion of God’s power. However, we seem to be heading in a direction that rejects God and His life-giving essentials for surviving in evil days. We seem to be saying to Him that in spite of the gales of wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine, and pestilence, we are doing just fine without Him. In fact, many Americans are, like ancient Israel before us, searching for “other gods” that will give us what we want rather than bowing the knee and turning back to the One who will set things right again so we can flourish and blossom as the flowers and trees of summer. We are ignoring the sirens that warn of an approaching tornado and shaking our fist at the wind and the God who owns the winds.
It takes work
As the “gardeners” of our nation, we want the summer flowers and the bountiful harvest without the work. We are hiding in the leaves of decay, whining and crying because they are there, and they impede our progress. Rather than getting out the shovels, rakes and pruning shears, we would rather complain that “it is too hard”; “someone else should do it”; “why doesn’t someone else do it”, and “I want something beautiful with no cost.” We have forgotten the joy hard work and sacrifice brings. We have forgotten how to pick up the rake and get busy cleaning up our country. We think because we are Americans that we can rest on the laurels of past seasons; this is an unwise path to walk.
We can have the beauty of spring and summer; but we have to prepare the soil and nurture the plants. We need to make the most of the time, because the storms are coming.