Within the next month or so, the tiny buds surrounded by white snow in the photo below will gradually grow and open, revealing green leaves. They will start as a lighter shade of green, somewhere in between yellow-green and lime, and they will gradually work their way toward a darker shade of green. Once there, the leaves will stay that way, at least to the human eye, throughout the remainder of spring and into the summer. Then, as summer gives way to autumn, they will turn red before they fall, eventually returning back to the earth. Each year this process occurs, and with it, the bush to which the buds belong, grows.
Beautiful as it can be to witness this cycle of birth and re-birth, it would not happen if any of the stages along the way ceased to occur. Each step throughout the year, and throughout its life, is important to the health and growth of the bush, giving it what it needs to survive the cold winter and gusty winds, as well as times of drought.
The burning bush was created to make it through…to persevere and to adapt and grow. We are no different. While the cold, white snow, and wind gusts may be a harsh reality, at the same time, they hold and carry nutrients, and condition the soil. Although they can pose a challenge, with them, we not only grow, but we thrive.
When Peter, James and John ascended the mountain with Jesus, they had no idea what they would encounter. Similarly, as we face each day, we never really know what we are about to walk into or come across. Like the disciples, we can choose to walk with Jesus, or we can choose to walk on our own.
Even when we choose to walk with Jesus, though, like Peter, James and John, we will have moments when we may experience something that causes us to become afraid, to question, or feel challenged beyond measure…beyond what we may think we can handle. In those times, remember, the radiant Son brings warmth and new life to the earth, even in the cold. “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” – Matthew 17:1-9