The sun is out, the temperatures have been above 0 for weeks, the grass is growing and the flowers--the ones that didn't come out in February and then get killed by the next snow--are starting to bloom. Everything--even the calendar!--says it's spring.
As the earth buds with new life and the days get longer and warmer,
spring is truly the official sign that the cold days of winter are past.
It is a miracle, a sign of God that there are better days ahead.
It is true that winter in the region where I live was completely
unimpressive in 2017, when this was written. Although I realize this is
a sign of global warming, and although I understand that it may have put
the farmers in a bad spot, I, for one, did not complain about the lack
of snow. It was nice to be able to wear my light jacket for most of
January and February. It was a blessing to not have to clean the
driveway. It was such a relief to not have to worry about driving in the
wet, slippery stuff. As a result, when thinking back over the winter of
2017, anyone from the region where I live will be
scratching their heads about now, saying, "Why all the hype about spring? We
didn't really ever have a winter!"
Nonetheless, no matter how warm or cold the winter has been, I am still
psyched about spring, for it means that we don't have to worry
about the cold weather again for an entire year.
More than likely anyone reading finds themselves right in the middle of
winter -- If not a calendar winter, then a winter period of life. And
if it is the latter, it has probably lasted more than the three month calendar
period, too. In fact, the tell-tale signs of spring that are happening
outside our homes right now are likely not visible in the winter period
of your life!
You know what I mean. If ever there were a "winter" period of life, the
time you spend dealing with cancer meets the criteria. So does that
death that is still so raw. And the loss of your
job/home/relationship/pet, etc. And more than likely, when you look out
the "window" of your life, there are no signs that this will ever go
away, that your life will ever return to normal.
I believe Noah knew exactly how you feel. He had been shut up in an ark
for months and months. Sure, the ark eventually came to rest on Mount
Ararat (after five long months! see
Gen. 8:3,4); however, the bible tells us that it was another 2.5--months!--before
other mountain peaks even became--visible!
I don't know about you, but I would say Noah was in the middle of a very
long winter with no spring in sight, and I know you can relate.
So what did Noah do?
He sent out a raven and a dove. The Bible says the raven, "flew back
and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up" (Gen.
8:7 NLT), but the dove, "could find no place to land because the
water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat..."
(Gen. 8:9 NLT).
Well what good did that do? They were still entrenched in their "winter"
with no spring in sight.
There was, however, a part to the story that Noah couldn't see. God was
doing something on a more global scale: "He sent a wind to blow
across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. The underground
waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were
stopped. So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth."
(Gen. 8:1b-3a NLT).
Why couldn't Noah see this?
Because it took time: time for the Earth to dry out; time for the water
to recede; time for the plant-life, so vital to sustaining life on
Earth, to regrow.
Was Noah discouraged?
I would have been. But the Bible records that even after the first dove
returned, in fact, just seven days later, Noah again sent out the dove, and
this time, "…the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh
olive leaf in its beak." (Gen. 8:11 NLT).
Yes, God was at work resolving Noah's problem, and when the time was
right, God sent a ray of hope, a dove carrying an olive leaf. No, Noah
still couldn't leave the ark. In fact, he was in the ark for a total of
12.5 months. Nonetheless, in the midst of the despair, Noah sought hope,
and God sent it to him.
It doesn't look like your winter is over yet. Those "flood waters" are
still very much surrounding everything, and you are still "trapped" in
your circumstance. Nonetheless, there is hope. Spring
will come, and if you make the effort to seek that
hope, if you "send out the dove", so to speak, God will give you the
hope that you so desperately need to get through the rest of your
"winter". He may not do it at once, but don't despair. Remember that
Noah had to send out the dove twice before receiving his hope. Just keep
on looking to the One who knows how to dry out the Earth; the One who
knows how and when to send the spring; the One who assures you that your
Winter will end. Ask Him for confirmation that
this will be over, and then watch for His response!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.