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R&V In the Word: Go Out in Joy

Read Isaiah 55

“So you’ll go out in joy,

you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.

The mountains and hills will lead the parade,

bursting with song.

All the trees of the forest will join the procession,

 exuberant with applause.

No more thistles, but giant sequoias,

no more thornbushes, but stately pines—

Monuments to me, to God,

living and lasting evidence of God.”Isaiah 55:12-13 MSG

I forget spring.

Living in a temperate climate, much of my landscape stays muted shades of brown, green, and gray throughout the winter. Usually, our winters are pocked with merciful bursts of white snow to coat all of the drab, but this year was mild, and the months marched on long without much of a snowy interruption. By the time April arrived, it had been about six months since leaves decorated trees.

I forget spring every year. I long for something green, something bright, something warm, but even staring into the woods and fields that surround my house, I can’t remember them enfleshed with leaves, I can’t remember how many daffodils bloomed through last autumn’s fallen leaves or where they’ve been hiding since last year. I can’t picture the canopy of trees in full foliage, bursting with new life, dancing in a summer breeze.

And yet it arrives.

The forsythia come first, then the daffodils accompanied by violets and grape hyacinths, then dandelions. Soon the trees will be full with leaves, prepared to shout their praise the next six months, their elbows and scars hidden for another season. 

Right now, everything in our region rejoices in resurrection—the mountains and hills lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause.

This good work that the Lord has done stands on its own and exists entirely apart from me. Every tree and creature, every blade of grass and clump of clover was created for God’s own good pleasure. His delight spills over from him to us, bathing us in beauty and joy if we have the eyes to see it, ears to hear it, cupped hands to catch it.

On the brink of spring, I don’t have to do anything to make our landscape new again. I just get to sit here and witness God’s hands at work. 

Go out in joy! Be led forth in peace!

Points of Reflection

  1. The Israelites (and all of us) tend to have short-term memory loss when it comes to God’s goodness. What blessings have you forgotten?
  2. How does spring in your neck of the woods reflect the character of God?

For the Kids

  1. How do you think trees and mountains sing?
  2. If God loves and cares for the Earth, do you think we should too?


The Lord of the Universe created everything for his own good pleasure and delight. He called everything good. Do something impractical today, something good that brings you pleasure and delight. Paint for the sake of creating. Write for the joy of language. Walk with no destination in mind. Ride your bike somewhere. Sit on a blanket in the newfound shade of a deciduous tree. Stay up to watch the stars. Read a novel. Play music. Dance. So much of our planet exists for the sake of existing alone, for the good pleasure and delight of existing. Seek and celebrate that good pleasure and delight today, from the giver of all, who delights in and is pleased with you, too, dear one.


In this book I found yet another plant-geek companion who also delights in the growing world of trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996. Her book, Lab Girl, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Lab Girl carries readers through Jahren’s childhood in Minnesota and into the lab she built in Hawaii. It is a celebration of curiosity and wonder, love and science.

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