This is the past post in the series Jesus is Coming What Difference Does it Make. It is provided by Matthew Young who is the pastor of Elysburg Presbyterian Church, PA . Matt is a graduate of Princeton and was on staff with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship for several years in Seattle. He is married to Jill Aylard Young and they have one adorable daughter Grace.
Waiting for Spring
Drip. Drip. Drip. So goes the water down the spout. Snow melts, again. Spring tries to come. But it sure takes a while.
Here we sit a few days into the new season, and the mid-range forecast into April is for colder than normal temperatures. Ugh. I imagine all of us feel ready for a change, ready for that warm sun and the daffodils poking up.
But it’s not here yet.
Neither are we.
In our Lenten disciplines, we size ourselves up spiritually and face the harsh realities of our own internal landscapes. We lament where our lives do not express the kingdom’s arrival in Jesus Christ.
We long for more of Him. Yet we resist Him, too. We ache for freedom, but in so many ways we choose bondage. Overwhelmed by resistance from the inside and the outside, we become discouraged. Maybe we settle for “half-way” into spring. But even as we settle, God’s Spirit makes us unsettled and cries out within us. Through the Spirit, our souls cry for more. We want it to be spring.
Holy Scripture is full of human experience that longs for a certain springtime. The psalmist cries out: O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions… Awake, rise to my defense! (Ps 35:17, 23) Or, from the prophet Habakkuk: How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? (Hab 1:2) The psalmist and the prophet long for God’s sunshine of liberation, freedom, and good news.
When we feel this way, we can know we have company within Holy Scripture itself.
I wonder where winter is taking its time to recede in your life. I wonder where you have cried out for God to bring a springtime that can’t come soon enough.
Maybe there is a relationship that hasn’t thawed yet. It’s still frozen in time after that dispute.
Perhaps a dream you held has become muddied over, covered in gunk from life’s monsoons and floods.
Maybe it’s some personal sin struggle you have – that recurring issue that just won’t go away, no matter how hard you seem to try.
Holy Scripture has good news for us, in these places. Not only do we find the Bible the voice of our longings. We also find promises we can claim, as we wait.
The prophet Isaiah rings clear: The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
No matter how cold it gets, or how disappointing life can be, God still shines on us. Even on dreary, cloudy, muddy March days, his promise still stands: those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
So, really, no matter how it feels inside of us or how it looks out there, God’s faithfulness isalways blooming. That is the promise. That is what we stand on. That is the soil we plant our lives.
And what good soil it is! By the Holy Spirit, faith sprouts new life even in advance of winter’s thaw. Prayers and worship flower up. Acts of kindness and tenacious grace bloom radiant. As God pours his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5), a quiet, steady spring comes even in the darkness.
The fact is, winter is no match for God’s faithfulness. The truth is, there is no such thing as permafrost in God’s ecology.
Our life together is, in fact, life in God’s spiritual greenhouse. No matter what time of year, something is always growing, just by God’s presence with us.
May it be so for you!