It’s officially spring! The end of March brings blooms of flowers and freshness in the air. It whispers in the fragrance of daffodils that winter is coming to an end. While that doesn’t mean much for Californians in terms of weather, I always look forward to the advent of springtime and the hope for what a new season might bring.
This year, I’ve been particularly expectant for this change in nature’s seasons and my own. I’ve been in the midst of months of uncertainty, and what I’ve been holding on to and looking forward to was the hope that a change of circumstances would surely bring.
To my excitement, my circumstances changed, and I got just what I wanted! The reconciliation I was so longing for came about. My season has changed! And yet, there is still the uncertainty lingering around that I thought would magically disappear. I still don’t know what’s coming around the corner, and I still find myself (gasp!) longing for control.
I sat in my discouragement for a while, and then slowly realized how much hope I had put into my circumstances and relief from that heartbreak. I know it’s futile, but something caught me up in it. The “if only…” bug is so real, and it so tragically tempted me with the promises of newness and wholeness that we all know doesn’t come from anything but the Lord. And yet, I find myself disappointed much too often and surprised when I fall into this habit again.
All throughout Scripture, the people of God forgot about what He had told them and how He had rescued them time and time again. What we so often need is a reminder that this is the rhythm of life-- trial and provision and God’s faithfulness.
The beginning of chapter 5 of Romans puts it this way, “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
This turnaround in thinking is so simple, even though it’s definitely not easy. If I know anything to be certain, it is that my perspective is supposed to wholly and fully rest on what God is doing, rather than on what I am doing. It means remembering that His purposes are different than ours, and trusting Him in the midst of it, regardless of whether our circumstances are favorable or not.
Now, I’m re-imagining my springtime hopefulness. It’s still a new season, and my life looks different now than it did one month ago, and three months ago, and one year ago. And some things are “good” now that weren’t, and others aren’t so good. I have so much to be thankful for.
I’m reminded in worship of the words of Psalm 121, “I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” My help and my hope does not come from nature or people or my circumstances. It comes from God, and He is ever-present, which means I am ever-reassured of His control and trustworthiness.