Sometimes it seems that the tunnel we’re traveling through has no end, just more and more darkness the further we go. But we’re encouraged to keep moving forward, it’ll get better. They say there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but no one’s seen it yet?! Press onward.
Oh the joy that redemption brings! That first sight of land after weeks at sea. It seemed as if you were lost forever, floundering on the waves, never to be rescued. But, then, far out on the horizon you thought you saw something. A tiny dark smudge? Then a bit later, a seagull flies past with a small branch in its beak, and there it was…hope, redemption! It was almost like someone placed those defibrillator paddles across your chest and ZAPP!!… Clear … ZAPP!! And there’s life again where a few minutes ago there was only gloom and despair. Now there’s a spark.
Now, there’s something green popping up through the brown mud and dead grass. There’s a couple little daffodils showing off their colors and, now, some buds popping out on the trees. What seemed to be surely dead is now taking on signs of life! It seemed like winter had taken up permanent residence! Even when the calendar looked like springtime, one look outside told you otherwise. That tunnel was oh so long! But even with the April snow and ice, all it takes is to see a couple of Robins hopping around outside, or that first 50 degree day to remind us, “redemption draweth nigh”, and put joy in your heart!
“And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” — Mr. Beaver in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Writing for the US Naval community publication THE LIGHTHOUSE, Lt. Baron Miller describes the Lenten season as our “exodus from winter”:
- S. Lewis’ Narnia is a magical land that is always cold. The White Witch has kept Narnia under her spell, creating a permanent season of snow, ice and death. It was “always winter and never Christmas” in Narnia. That was until Aslan came back to bring freedom and “shake his mane.”
Like Jesus, Aslan the lion king represents freedom from death’s snare and release into joy. When Aslan is on the move in Narnia, winter begins to melt and life comes into bloom.
Lt. Miller concludes, “For us in the real world, Lent is very similar. Lent means ‘springtime,’ and it marks our exodus from winter into the dawn of spring. For us as Christ followers, Lent reminds us that Jesus is on the move and the joyous season of spring is here. He will provide for us a ‘crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair’.
All of that, one may very well translate into the single action verb that is what a Savior does; “redemption”. God, speaking through Isaiah to Judah, warned them against relying on their own ways, trusting in Egypt and others rather than trusting in God. Isaiah 30:15 God says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
Isaiah’s prophecies to Judah warned them of the bitter long cold of winter that would eventually come their way because of their wicked obstinance. But Isaiah’s prophecies to Judah are not all doom and gloom. They will be redeemed. Spring will come.
In Isaiah 34 and 35, is one prophecy in which God professes judgement against the enemies of Judah, here represented by Edom, and then the flourishing redemption of the land; such a clear foreshadowing Israel’s redemption as a nation following their exile.
Isaiah 35:1-2 1The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
And when others see this blessed transformation, this metamorphosis; “crocus’ bursting into bloom” where was formerly a baron wilderness – it must be the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God, that they see…that we see, and give our heartfelt gratitude for. Let us never, ever cease to praise Him for the redemption He has given us!