Monday, March 28, 2016

The Hope of Spring



Life has its seasons.  The beginning of spring is one of my favorites.  We have lived in places where winter seems like it is going to last forever.   One day is sunny and nice just to have our hopes dashed with snow or a week of rainy cold.   The official day for spring has past, and our heaters are still needed.  Then one day spring shows its face and somehow I seem to have more spring in my step.  Most days since I have been in the states, I have walked around the neighborhood where we are staying. As I walked in both Iowa and Tennessee, each day I saw more and more signs of spring: flowers and buds on the trees turning into first leaves, bulbs springing up their green shoots ready to burst forth in color, and green grass taking over the brown grass of winter.  When we drove to Iowa all the trees were bare.  When we drove back to Tennessee the trees were white, pink and purple displaying the beauty of spring.  If I am not careful, I might miss the beginning of spring.  One day it is all bare, and the next it is all green.   But if I look carefully, the signs of spring are there before spring is in full swing.



In C. S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, one of the characters says  that it is always winter with no Christmas.  That is a place with no hope.  As the book goes on, Christmas comes and slowly does spring.  Hope is alive since Aslan is on the move.  In life, we can find ourselves in a season that feels like winter with no Christmas.  We don't have hope.  We are looking for new life but all we see is the cold and snow.  These seasons are hard.  I think that is why I love living in a place that has a clear cut winter, spring, summer, and fall.  These seasons remind us that every season has its place and that winter doesn't last forever.  Each season has its purpose in life. 



Our team that we left in Central Asia is in a season that feels like winter. They are watching and praying for signs of spring as they wait for flight permissions.   Maybe you are going through a difficult season with a child, and you are praying for signs of spring.  You are praying that all those seeds that you have planted will grow and bring forth fruit.   Or your church is struggling and doesn't seem to have the life it once did, and you are praying for signs of spring.   You know that God's word is powerful and are praying for it to take roots in the hearts of those around you.  Or it could even be an illness that affects you or a family member.  You are praying for hope in the midst of hurt and questions.  Your prayer is that you can grow in this place.   As we pray, may we remember that as we pray for signs of spring, we are really praying to see the creator at work in and around us.  We are not looking so much for the flowers and the green but the creator of all things moving and working in the physical as well as the spiritual world.  Spring only comes from God who makes all things new. 

God, may we see you move in the world around us.  May we watch for you.  Bring healing and grace to those in hard places, to those who feel like winter will never end.  Be a refuge and place of comfort and rest to those who feel beat down by the storms of life.   Bring new life in those dark places that have no light.  You are the Hope of the world.  May we live as you are the hope of the world.  Be glorified in us.   Amen



(Note all pictures are courtesy of my son. )

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