the hope of spring

Spring couldn’t come soon enough this year.

Sometimes, in my life, the physical seasons line up with the seasons in my heart. My heart walked through winter this year. Winter was months of watching one of my closest friends walk through one of the hardest periods of her life; months of watching as God asked her to die and surrender over and over again; months of living with my own low-grade level of anxiety, of walking through circumstances that left me feeling confused and desperate. By the time March rolled around, the cry of my soul was, “enough.” I’d had enough of death, of watching people I love reach a point of empty.

Honestly, I’d love for it be springtime all year round. I’d love to skip the winter, and just move straight from fall to spring. But, that’s not how seasons work, is it? There’s an intentional order to things that I often forget.

I forget that every season – especially winter – has its purpose. I forget that the death of winter is necessary to pave the way for new life to spring from the ground. I forget that you can’t have the hope of spring without the longing of winter. I forget that it won’t always be like this. I forget that no matter how long and cold the winter feels, spring always, always shows up.

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Spring never fails; just when I start to fear the branches on the tall oak tree in my backyard will never sprout again, I spot the tiniest light green buds pushing their way into the light. Just when I fear I’ll never be able to go outside without a jacket again, the warm sunshine hits my skin and soothes my soul. Just when I start to think that God forgot, he reminds me that He is here, in the winter with me.

………

This winter reminded me that life with Jesus is backwards.

It makes logical sense that life comes before death, that to die is the end of life.

But Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

In other words, to really gain true life, you have to surrender it first. Jesus gives us a perfect example of what this looks like: He walked to the cross, to his death, and surrendered his entire life to pay the debt for my sin, so that I might have full life in return.

The life of spring doesn’t happen without the death of winter. As the seasons have an intentional order, so it is with my heart. If I want full life, I don’t get to escape the winter. But, I’m walking through it with the One who endured death to be with me. I’m walking through it with the One who controls the seasons of the Earth and of my heart.

And I’m reminded the order of life with Jesus:

Life from death.

Hope from despair.

Joy from longing.

Spring from winter.

Happy Spring, everyone.

 

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