It’s been a long winter. We’ve had gray day after gray day. The only variation seems to have come in the amount of rain that falls each day.
And, it feels like we’ve been waiting for spring forever. Because, let’s face it, humans are not generally patient people.
To make matters worse, usually by this time of year we are already enjoying the beauty of spring. And, Facebook keeps reminding me of that fact by showing me memories from past years. Pictures of my planted garden, beautiful sunny days and my family happily enjoying outdoor activities keep popping up saying: “On this date…” They only serve to remind me of how late spring is this year and how mad I am about it.
Because, somehow I have gotten it into my head that I deserve spring.
It suddenly occurred to me that this is also how I tend to think about God on a daily basis. Whenever I go through dark times in my life, the whining and complaining begins. And, I basically call out to God, “Where is my spring?” “Where is my prize for surviving this misery?” “I want my sunshine!”
Sure, the dark days refine us. They often teach us far more than the sunny times in our lives. But, they’re not fun and they don’t seem to add any beauty to our lives (at least, not that we care to notice). And, after a short while, we are more than ready to move from winter into spring.
I used to read the Bible and get frustrated with the people who couldn’t wait for God’s timing and took matters into their own hands (with disastrous results). “What is wrong with them?” I’d wonder. “Don’t they have any patience?” What I failed to acknowledge was that many of them had waited for a looong time (like forty years!). I’m not excusing their actions, of course, but I can certainly relate now. I whine and complain far earlier than that.
The other day, I ventured outside during a brief break in the rain. It was still cold and gray, but I saw things I hadn’t noticed before (because I was too focused on the negative).
Green buds were forming on dead-looking brown stalks.
Bulbs were blooming in the midst of fallen leaves.
And, soggy flowers were bravely standing up in the midst of downpours.
The promise of spring was there. And, it is that promise that keeps us going in the dark times.