The first signs of spring this year haven't been a change in landscape. Without our usual blanket of snow over the winter, there has been little to melt, so we continue viewing the dull, brown prairie grasses and black, empty fields.
Our beginnings of spring have been people walking, and kids playing, enjoying the fresh air outdoors after a long winter in lockdown. Cabin fever is really a thing up here in the north! Especially when life has been held at a standstill.
For reasons we don’t understand and didn’t choose, that was our winter. Glad as we are to see life open up again, the winter has taken a toll on us, and processing it all will take time.
As we reflect on the last couple of months, we notice who we are becoming through the chaos and the calm of life. Where we look for sources of truth will determine where we land up. If we use our emotions as a guide, we will end up depressed, or unfulfilled. If we turn to popular opinion, we will become angry and unsatisfied.
If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself in both of those places at one time or another through this journey.
The people of Israel lost their grip on truth. One marriage to a foreigner led to another, one time of idol worship resulted in a second, and one-by-one the acts of a holy and mighty God became forgotten.
The pleas of the prophets were an invitation to repentance. To remember, in faith, the strong and marvelous hand of God that carried them into a promised land and fought for them. A call to stop looking at what could never satisfy and worship the One worthy of all praise. Yet, to discover him means knowing who he is, as he has revealed himself in his word.
In Hosea we read, “let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” (Hos 6:3).
Whatever our chaos and our calm have looked like in the recent months, the compass we use to direct our path will determine where we land up. Pressing on to know who God is by the word he has given us is our sure foundation. We won’t always understand what’s happening, or why life takes vicious, painful turns, but we can always hold on to the truth of who he is in it all.
Faithful. Almighty. Loving. Gracious. Sovereign. Good.
We know what happens when the first rain replenishes the ground in spring. The dirt washes away, leaving the ground looking clean. Then with the warmth of the sun, the grass turns green, seeds sprout, and tulips rise and bloom. It’s the signal of new life.
The seasons change, but there is a pattern. We come to learn the ebb and flow of the changing seasons, trusting that what has happened in the past will happen again; the weather cools, the snow falls, then after a time the warmth of the sun strengthens and snow turns to rain.
Just as in life there will be seasons of hardship, challenge and frustration. But what we know from our experience is that the seasons will change. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet 5:10). It may not be what we expected, but if we resolve to use God’s truth as our guide, we will find everything he has promised.
The blessing of timely rains, the shifting of the seasons teaches us we are not in control. We sit under the sovereign hand of a gracious and merciful Lord who is “before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). While the signs of spring are finally upon us, we are both looking forward to the season ahead, and reflecting on the time passed. May we press on to know the Lord each day, finding truth to nourish us, and his promises to hold.