by JENNY SEYLAR[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.19.18″ custom_padding=”0|0px|25.5px|0px|false|false”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.19.18″ custom_padding=”0|0px|12.75px|0px|false|false”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.18″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.18″]
For spring break my family and I traveled to coastal South Carolina. As we left Iowa, there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. The chalky white lined the ribbon of road for the first couple of hours as we ventured southeast. The white ground eventually gave way to the monotonous brown and grey of late winter that is the Midwest. As the miles ticked by, patches of green grass broke the uniformity of the drab landscape. By the time we reached southern Kentucky, the trees were beginning to bud an iridescent emerald and occasional violet blossoms. I could the feel the weight of winter tumbling from my weary limbs. Upon arrival in South Carolina we discovered that spring was in full force. Tiny leaves on the trees, sprouting shrubbery, and a rainbow of bedding plants in window boxes welcomed us at every turn.
As our time in the south drew to a close we talked of visiting again and even pondered what living in South Carolina might be like. Dreaming is good, but it is also short-lived when work and school responsibilities must be honored. So, we packed the car and headed to the interstate, venturing ever northward. It was as if the car trip to the southeast was being played in reverse. The trees were once again laid bare. The grass contained less and less green. The dull brown and gray gave way to piles of dirty snow along the roadside that had not yet melted.
Vacation was over, and so was our respite in the mild weather of the south. To have experienced the rapidly changing seasons along the route was to realize that there is much hope to be found in spring. Not only for the flowers and trees, but hope for my own heart. Daffodils and tulips have yet to push through the cold, hard ground at home. I long to see their supple green leaves that burst forth the pastel hues when they bloom. Their emergence from the ground is out of my control, and so I wait patiently for the blooms to poke through the dead leaves of last season that still cover the flower beds.
At times I wonder if the grey, muted landscape of winter is also the home for my heart. Then I turn to the Psalms to find comfort in God’s inspired words. “Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you, LORD! And I will praise You again because You help me, and You are my God.” (Psalm 43:5, CEV) It is in my trusting of God that I laydormant underground like a daffodil bulb, patiently waiting to burst forth and reveal the new me that has been longing to emerge. So long, it seems, have I been a shadow of my former self. Vacant eyes, days driven to tears, lonely nights, loss of any sort of direction, and ever longing for the rebirth that is yet to come. Like the brown spring bulb in the cold winter ground, I am still teaming with life and beauty that will be revealed when the conditions are right.
God is at work in my life even when I am not blooming. God is present when I am suffering and grieving. God is my companion when I am feeling lonely. That is the promise that I cling to. That is the hope that makes me just a bit stronger than I was the day before. Were I not to hope, the hard things that come my way would be nearly impossible to bear. Not that God makes my life easy, because God doesn’t. Faith and trust in God are not an insurance policy that I collect on when the going gets tough. Instead, I have faith and trust that God has my back and will help make the tough times manageable, and when that happens, I will burst forth and bloom!
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Giving up hope is not an option because God never gives up on me. Roman 8:28 reminds me of this: “And we know that in all things God works for those who love God, who have been called according to God’s purpose.” On really hard days it’s not easy to keep hope alive, but it is necessary. God is working on my behalf to bring good things my way, and I must wait patiently for God to act. Even when my hope falters, my love and trust of God do not. God remains steadfast and present in my life, always bringing me hope. Seek ways each day to thank God for the hope that is working in your life. You are a glorious bloom whose beauty grows more wondrous as you learn to hope and trust the Lord.
My hope for you, dear reader, is this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NIV) Better yet, make this scripture personal and say it in the first person: “The God of hope fills MEwith joy and peace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I have hope and trust God.”
PRAYER God of Love and Hope, thank You for Your never-ending presence in my life. You join me on the days filled with light and color, and You are with me on the days of dreary darkness. Help me to continue to grow and thrive, even if I have yet to reveal the blooms You have created in me. Nurture my heart so that it always longs for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]