Spring. The season of hope realised, when the hard winter months fade away and you can see the promise of new life come to fruition. Trees begin to bud and blossom, grass grows green, and baby animals frolic in fields. It’s the season when we begin to feel ourselves come alive again. When we can sigh deeply because we know that the cold winter days are behind us, and we can wait expectantly because summer is just around the corner. Yes, spring holds many promises and hopes and dreams in its hands. It is the season that is hoped for during the long winter months when all that gets you through the day is the knowledge that someday soon the snow will melt and the earth will come alive once more.
But what happens when spring never comes? When that season of hope realised turns into an endless winter? Do we still cling to that hope that one day spring will reign victorious over the harsh winter landscape, turning it from white into a radiant green? Or do we abandon all hope of ever seeing and feeling warmth again, and surrender ourselves to the whitewash of frost?
These are the questions that I’m currently asking myself, as it’s the middle of April and we’re still having to endure snow storm after snow storm. This is the time of the year when we’re supposed to be seeing things start to grow and flourish, but instead, we are seeing things get increasingly heavy laden with snow. And I’ll be honest, that at this point it’s hard to hold on to the hope and promise of spring when all that I see and feel is the eternal winter surrounding me. It’s hard to trust that one day the waist deep snow will melt away and the lush green grass will take its place. As I was looking outside at yet another day bookended and blanketed by snow, I realised something:
How often do we begin to doubt that God will keep his promises of a renewed and redeemed life as we wander through our winter seasons?
As Christians, we walk through many seasons, somewhere we feel God in every breath we take and every step we take, and then there are seasons where it feels like God is a million miles away and we’re left on our own to figure out life. It is in these winter seasons that it becomes easy to lose sight of the promises that God has given us. We begin to focus on the raging snow storms around us instead of on the one who calms the storms. We look around at the barren wasteland that we’re walking through and doubt that God could ever make something beautiful grow there. Every time that we look at our circumstances and doubt that God could ever make something live out of this death, we surrender to our circumstances. We slowly allow for the winter wind to cut us to the bone, and for the snow to pile upon us, until we’re certain that we will never see spring or feel warmth again.
But God never intended for us to remain in the frozen tundra or blazing desert. We allow for us to walk through those desolate places so that we can learn to draw closer to him. To lean into him, and to trust in his perfect timing. He will bring you out of the barren places, and he will create new life in the silent places.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; not it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:18-19
So as I sit here watching my world become a canvas of white and grey, I cling to the hope that one day the thaw will come. One day the life will return, and the thoughts of this seemingly eternal winter will fade away. And as you read this, I pray that you will not become heavy laden with the weight of the spiritual winter you may be walking through. Take heart, for the one who leads you into the barren lands, will bring you out once more! He will never leave you to weather the storms alone, even if he feels far away all you have to do is call his name and he’ll be right there, even if you don’t feel him. Welcome in spring friends, embrace this season of hope realised…even if it’s just for one day at a time. Hold onto that hope!