Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Promise Of Spring

I've heard a lot of people (including myself... many times!) comment this year that it has been a long winter. It's true. Until yesterday, the last time we saw the 60-degree mark was back in October. I know a lot of folks got out of the house this weekend to enjoy the sun and the warmth. At our house, we did some weeding, some pruning, and some raking, getting our yard ready for spring (and Jared ran around, happy as a bee in a flower shop).

As I was clearing away some of the leaves and dead plant pieces from last year, I discovered that there's already a lot of green stuff peeking its way up through the soil. Pretty soon, our yard will turn into daffodils, tulips, and hostas, followed by lilies, ferns, and rhododendrons. In the swampy area behind our yard, there will be wild strawberries, wild grapes, and black raspberries. Trees are budding, shoots are shooting, grass is turning green. It is so wonderful to witness again the incredible promise of spring.

Spring serves as a metaphor for so many things:

  • God is a God of rebirth. Everything and everyone dies, but death is not the end of the story. Jesus' death was not the end, and our death is not the end. God loves to bring life out of death.
  • There is no winter too long, no heart too cold, no soul too dead that God cannot reach it and restore it. Every single winter--even the longest winter--ends in spring and new life. We must never give up hope for those around us--or for ourselves. The forgiveness of God is beyond comprehension.
  • There are seasons to our lives. Very rarely do we experience uninterrupted years of growth and maturity. More often, we get closer to God in fits and starts. An awareness, an insight, a crucial decision, and we find a breakthrough that propels us into a new stage of spiritual growth. But there are also times of darkness, struggle, pain, doubt, fear, and confusion. God is never absent. If we stay close to him through our winters, he will lead us into another spring and the warmth that comes from standing in the Son.
  • God provides for his creation. The same God who causes the earth to turn, the days to lengthen, the rain to fall, the sun to shine, and the seeds to sprout is the same God who created you and me. He cares for us infinitely more than the flowers of the field, which are here today and tomorrow tossed into the fire. Won't he richly bless us with everything that we need?

As someone who grew up in California, I'm still getting used to experiencing four distinct seasons. We had two--summer (8-9 months) and winter (3-4 months). Winter was rainy and foggy; summer was hot and sunny.

But this midwestern cycle of life and death is powerful to me. Every season has its unique beauty and allure.

  • Summer is the season I enjoy the most.
  • Fall is the season that's the most stunning.
  • Winter has a stark beauty all its own.
  • But Spring makes me the most reflective, and fills me with the most awe for our Creator.

Right now, right under your feet, God is doing his thing, summoning the flowers of the field to reawaken, stirring inside them, calling them heavenward. And he's calling us, too? Don't you hear him?

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