Gazing out the window as I write this morning, I see the yellow flowers of the forsythia bush, announcing Spring! The tree branches are tinged with green, the buds a sign of the earth’s renewal. Tiny flowers poked through the mulch next to the garage. And, on a less positive note, my eyes are itching, a yearly reminder that the we are awakening from winter. The coming of Spring is a faith-builder in me, a reminder that God is present, the life of the Spirit persists even in the ‘wintery’ moments.
Yesterday was a day marked by sadness, not my own, but for many I know. In the morning, a friend met me with the news of a death in the family, her eyes filling with tears. Another texted me about her mother’s ongoing medical crisis and yet another set-back. A ministry colleague’s wife posted that he, a relatively young man, stands at death’s door after a long struggle with lung cancer. While sharing life with other’s in our church’s pantry ministry, there was a flow of human need – a nephew’s mental illness, a man’s broken family, another with his own demons and delusions, and the aged living on the edge financially. It was an emotionally wintry day!
What a blessed gift to be able to take those needs and those of this warring world to my Savior and Lord to know that He invites me to give them all to Him. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NLT) Oh yes, I admit that can be difficult. Sometimes I impatiently pray “Come on, Lord. Heal! Save! Renew!” But, He asks only that I wait on Him, that I let Him be God, with humility and faith.
It is not just the renewal of the earth in the Spring that instructs me. I see the pattern woven into the Scripture story, too. Time and again we read of those whose faith was battered by hardship, the light of life nearly extinguished, but as they trusted Him, He was there.
Remember Joseph’s story in Genesis? He was given a dream and then spent the next two decades mired in troubles – rejected and sold into slavery by his brothers, imprisoned on false charges, forgotten by those he helped. We would not have blamed him for giving up and growing bitter, but he did not. The depth of his faith is never more obvious than in his words to his brothers years later when he had the power to punish them. “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20, NIV)
Centuries later, the land of Judah was devasted by the armies of Babylon. Jerusalem was torn down, the best and brightest of the land carried off to serve the pagan king. It looked like the end of the nation, but God told His people that He would restore them, that their experiences were not hidden from His view. “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
Friend, are you in a wintry world? Is your soul dormant, chilled by situations that defy explanation, by suffering that seems unrelenting? Weep, He sees your tears. If words fail, simply wait, He hears the silent cry of your heart. This passage is one dear to me – “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)
Quick fixes and instant cures are offered for everything from cancer to character flaws, from disappointment to disgust, from sin to sainthood. Don’t buy them! People are not machines that can be fixed with a turn of a wrench or the replacement of a bolt. We are complex; a mixture of motives, each with a past, wrestling with our pain, problems, and the promises of God. God’s grace can transform us into creatures of beauty, but only as we accept it and in turn learn to give it away. The Word urges us to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (Hebrews 6:12, NIV) “Farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong.” (James 5:7-8, The Message)
Are you waiting for your heart to heal?
Are you praying for relief from sorrow?
Are you waiting for the dawn of promise to overtake darkness of disappointment?
This is the word from the Word for those who are in process: “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. … Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. … And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 6:11, 11:1,6 NIV) Lord, increase my faith, Amen.
(Video of this blog at this link)
When in the spring the flowers
Are blooming bright and fair
After the gray of winter’s gone
Once again the lark begins its tuning
Back in the meadows of my home
Lord to my heart bring back the springtime
Take away the cold and dark of sin
O refill me now sweet Holy Spirit
May I warm and tender be again
Lord make me like that stream
That flows so cool and clear
Down from the mountains high above
I will tell the world that wondrous story
Of the precious stream filled with Your love
Kurt Kaiser© 1970 Curb Word Music (Admin. by WC Music Corp.)
CCLI License # 810055
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