Saturday

You Can Begin Again!

     I have never heard anyone say, “I hate springtime.” Well…okay, maybe allergy sufferers whine this complaint—but even they just dislike the pollen, not the season. Flowers bloom, trees bud, grass starts growing, birds begin singing. All of creation announces, “We’re alive again!”

      For a lot of people this year was a long, cold winter. Winter always seems long to me—too long, sometimes. But winter is necessary. In the economy of the climate, winter kills then makes way for something new.

      During winter creation loses its sparkle. A once luscious, green forest turns dismal gray. Most flowers die while others crawl back under the soil to hide from the wintry elements. Color, for a season, vanishes, and it seems so does all of life.

      To add to the drab surroundings, the song of nature is stilled as birds take their melody to a warmer environment. Is it any wonder that a greater percentage of people suffer from depression during winter?

      Like all creation, we too experience seasons in our life. Without exception, no one can live without going through personal winters. In keeping with the season, most are cold and drab. Personal winters can be dead, gray, and colorless.

      It’s easy to lose your song during these days. Like the Israelites referred to in Scripture, we incline to weep a lot during personal winters and set beside “the rivers of Babylon” thinking of the good ole days. The Psalmist says they put away their musical instruments, “hanging them upon the branches of the willow trees” (chapter 137:1-2).

      The recession, job losses, depression, home foreclosures, rejection, death of loved ones, abuse, sickness, marriage problems, divorce, addictions, loneliness, failures—just a few of the grim circumstances of personal winters. During winter “something dies” so to speak.

      I don’t like winter. However, it’s necessary. Winter precedes spring and every living thing must pass through an icy winter to enter a sunnier spring. This is a spiritual principle that applies to every form of life.

      The cross is the Lord’s symbol that reminds us that Jesus experienced a personal winter, too. Like all winters, dying was part of it. First, his winter was for his Father, and then for us.

      The cross was ugly. The Lord’s death on the cross was even more repulsive. The only color that splashed across the backdrop of Jesus’ crucifixion was red—his blood. Other than that, like all winters it was gray, bleak, and dreary. But it was necessary for what was to come.

      One would hardly recognize Jesus during his winter. Bruised, beaten, and bloody, only the inward charm remained. His outer shell was not recognizable. Finally, winter took its toll and he died. I’m not surprised. Winter was only doing its job.

      The story goes that winter passed and springtime came. Like a tulip lying dormant under the soil, the earth gave way to a greater power and promise. What everyone thought to be gone forever burst forth from a wintry grave. Flowers bloomed (lilies, I suppose), skies turned blue, warm days emerged, and birds sang again. This time they sang a new song—“He has risen!”

      In Jesus’ resurrection God declares that our personal winters are only for a season. In the Bible a man named Paul wrote to a group of people faced with winter. “I want you to know,” he writes,  “about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used when he raised Christ from death.” (Ephesians 1:19-20). Now that’s some more serious power we have been given!

      Easter is not only an event in Christian history—Easter is a person. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection” (John 11:25).

      Though we celebrate Jesus’ birth in December, isn’t it strange that historians cannot pinpoint when he was born? However, we’re certain about the time of his resurrection—springtime, right after the Jewish Passover.

      Springtime and resurrection go together, as Forrest Gump says, “Like peas and carrots.” When Jesus resurrected from his grave God was declaring, “Your winters are limited!” Your personal winter may be long and hard but it will come to an end. This is the message of the season.

      Jesus never understood his future by the dismal winter of his cross. Neither should you. Like daffodils that suddenly appear after a long cold season, the resurrection declares that your winter season is not the end of your story.

      I love springtime don’t you? It’s bursting with the resurrection of Jesus! And the resurrection is not just a good story—it’s a life principle that God infused in the season itself.

      Now, as I see the flowers bloom, trees blossom, and birds sing, I’m reminded that winters, like the cross, do not last forever.

      Jesus has risen!

      Springtime is here.

      And you can begin again!



2 comments:

  1. You are always very timely with your messages. I lost my mother last month and your message gave me encouragement.

    Bev

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    Replies
    1. Bev,
      So happy this writing inspired you to keep on keeping on. In time, our winter's are swallowed up by the warmth of God's spring. Keep following close to Him.

      Blessings,
      Bill

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