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! seeGen. 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 newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.