My most recent posts on this site and on my ministry site have been a bit dark lately. And while it is important to be honest and transparent about this whole ugly grieving thing, I wanted to find a more hopeful “bent” for this next post.
Let’s face it – this was an awful winter for so many of us, no matter where we live. Here in the Midwest, we were enticed into a hopeful expectation of a mild winter with our uneventful November and December. And then, WHAM! The rest of the winter was just so full of record lows, record low highs, record monthly snowfall, record days without sunshine and probably a lot of other nasty records that I can’t recall.
That is hard on even the most Pollyanna-ish of us all.
For me, I also struggled with the second winter season without snow blowing equipment that worked. So, lots of hand shoveling – at one point with a broken shovel because I couldn’t find any new ones in Des Moines. More than one “melt-down” out on my driveway…
Add to that the difficulty of second year widowhood and it resulted in the worst winter of my life.
“Gee, Lynne, if this is your idea of a more hopeful blog post, you might want to work on your approach a bit.”
Admit it – you were thinking that, right!?
Don’t worry, it’s coming!
The past few days here in central Iowa have finally brought us a taste of what we hope lies ahead. Spring weather! I just finished walking my dog, Miss Daisy, and I was so encouraged by the sunshine, the kids out playing in the yards or riding their bikes, lots of dog-walkers, people in cars with their windows down, birds singing, a few brave flowers peeking out. That’s a decent list, isn’t it?
And it absolutely lifted my spirit out of that dark, winter hole. I hope you’ve all been able to experience that as well. To me, that’s part of what this Spring season is about. New growth, new life, new hope, new season.
Because my brain is almost always in “blog mode,” I look for lessons in the simplicity of life. I believe one of the lessons learned as we get ready to turn the calendar to April is that, eventually, the winter ends. Oh sure, I know we could get a bit more snow, but we know it won’t last.
We don’t hope IN VAIN for Spring to arrive. God will undeniably usher it into our lives soon. And Spring arrival is such a perfect example of how God also ushers comfort, peace, healing, relief, and reprieve into our lives after a winter season in our soul.
I’m not saying God will always eliminate our heartaches. I know from personal experience that He does not. But I do believe He understands our limits and brings relief when we need it most.
Dale and I experienced a very difficult 2013. He suffered through one illness after another after another. So many trips to the ER and to hospitals across the state – with the associated bureaucratic headaches. I struggled to juggle work and household responsibilities with all the time and energy expended on his health needs. Add to that a couple of deaths in our family and we were both at the end of our ropes.
And then… the calm. I kept waiting for another shoe to drop, but it did not. You might expect me to have learned a deep, theological lesson from that horrible year. THIS was my lesson – eventually it all came to an end.
Yep, that’s all I got. I was actually a bit disappointed that it wasn’t more profound. But then I realized that it was! God DOES bring our difficult seasons to an end. Maybe the difficulty is actually removed or resolved.
But maybe, the relief comes in the form of a new perspective. Maybe a scripture text, or a devotional, or a sermon, or a kind friend’s words have caused you to see even your most difficult season a little differently.
Ultimately, the best way for us to view our difficulties is in light of eternity. If you’re a believer, your hope lies not in the arrival of Spring, but in the promise of heaven where there is no more pain, suffering or tears. Where we reunite FOREVER with our Savior – and with the loved ones we so long to see. I can’t imagine a hope more glorious than that!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.