"Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden that its spices may flow out" (SOS 4:16).
What a beautiful verse this is! We are special buds in His garden, "precious plants of His own planting," as one writer expresses it. A comforting thought is that He takes great care of His garden. With God's grace and pruning, it will never grow wild and fruitless. Indeed, through the current of the Holy Spirit, we may share our spices--our fruits--with others.
Awake, O north wind! The north wind must come to sweeten our fruit. We live in the south and for years we had an orange grove until four freezes in five years destroyed it. We were always grateful for a mild north wind to sweeten and color the fruit but, with the fourth freeze in five years, the trees were finally overwhelmed by too much north wind. The day we knew we at last had to face the loss of our beloved grove, I thought of that north wind, and thanked God that He eventually sends the south breezes to comfort us.
One of the connotations of this verse is separateness. "My garden," God calls us! Every exposed root is lovingly placed and each tender shoot pruned by the Gardener who has full knowledge of our environment and needs. God knows there are periods in our life when we need to be separated from the world and its demands to go into the Garden of Gethsemane with Him, for that is where He was wholly human. When I want to picture myself with Jesus, that's where in vision I go: to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here there is quiet and time for talking with Him and telling Him our sorrows that only He can possibly know. Friends may tell us they understand as we grope our way through an incredible darkness that has enveloped us suddenly, but they don't simply because they can't. But our beloved Jesus holds us close to Him and assures us that He understands.
Another sustaining connotation of this verse is the idea of security. We can be so grateful that we are already in His Garden when the north wind blows. The cold and sharp wind hurts while it whips around us, but it removes our deadness. Then slowly, in the solitariness of His Garden, His south wind of the Spirit brings forth wonderful and warm graces.
Charles Spurgeon says of this verse: "Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes slumbering in the cups of the flowers: the wisdom of the great Husbandman overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result, and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth the grateful odours of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience, what this means."
O Holy Spirit, may the north wind of grief blossom into the south wind of joy!
Patricia Erwin Nordman