It’s been a while since I’ve lived through a real winter. Here in Southern California, winter is not quite the same as it is in other parts of the country. Yesterday, it was 75 degrees and sunny. So we don’t really experience the dying away and rebirth of winter into spring. And as much as I love soaking up the sun in early February, I miss the transition from winter to spring.
When I lived in the Midwest, spring was always my favorite time of year. It was a time when everything came back to life. No matter how cold or bleak the winter had been, just like magic, every spring, the flowers bloomed and the leaves budded and all was right with the world again.
Winter comes with its wind and snow and freezing temperatures. Everything that was once in full bloom is suddenly dead and gone. While you’re in winter, it can feel like nothing will ever come to life again. I remember enduring dark winters during college in Iowa. I would walk through my once lush, beautiful campus as it lay in waste as the winter months languished. But toward the end of March, into early April, a thaw would start. And slowly, the campus would start to come to life again. I would see little flowers starting to push through dirt that still had patches of snow on it. Signs of the beauty this campus held began to be seen again.
But inevitably, there would always be a late winter snow storm that would blow through. In that moment, as I watched the snow falling in April, it was be easy to wonder if those early signs of spring, those early signs of a season in transition were only a cruel tease. Would we be stuck in winter forever? But fact is, spring always follows winter and seasons change. Just as God promised Noah after the Flood, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22 ESV).
Lately, my life has felt like those early days of spring in Iowa. I’ve started to see the beauty underneath the snow and ice. But as it often happens, a freak winter storm blows through. In those moments, it feels like I’m back in the dead of winter, with no hope of seeing the sun shine again. But I have to remember the promises of God. I have to remember spring always follows winter and seasons change. No matter how many late-winter-into-early-spring snow storms I endured in Iowa, true spring always came. The flowers eventually bloomed and the trees came back to life.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (ESV).
Whether in life or nature, the seasons eventually change. It has been a hard, dark winter season in my life. But spring is coming and new life is blooming. Even if I have to endure a storm or two, that won’t change the fact that a new season is on the way, bringing with it new hope. Praise the Lord for that.