For this southern girl, winter in northern Illinois is especially brutal. Snow is endless. The wind is a torrent of frigid blasts that chills to the very core. The trees are barren and naked, all signs of life snatched from them. For months the world exists only in shades of black and white. The sky is diluted, a watercolor with too much water and not enough paint. The sun is forever hidden behind a wall of impenetrable gray. Sorrow, discouragement, and despair run rampant through humanity, magnified by the bleakness of the weather outside.
I have learned what it is to long for spring.
Eagerly I awaited the return of birds, and green, and sun, and warmth. Just when it seemed we were to be forever enslaved by the White Witch, a robin flitted across the sky! A daffodil pushed its way upward, blooming defiantly in the face of snow. Spring! It does exist! The landscape here has yet to fully explode in its array of colors, but it is coming. As sure as the sun rises and sets, so will dormant trees produce the fresh green of budding leaves.
In winter the earth lay silent, waiting, clinging to the figment of green hidden deep beneath the snow. In winter my soul lay silent, waiting, clinging to the hope that life and love and beauty would come again.
But I’m caught between winter and spring, I think. One word the Holy Spirit impresses on my heart. Wait. So I wait with bated breath. The branch is not dead, just pruned severely. Tentatively, new growth begins to blossom. I wait. I believe the colors will be vibrant and the fruit lush. Eagerly I await. What’s next God? Perhaps there will be spring. “Produce what is most beautiful to you Lord.”
Winter, in due time, will come again. Yet I am not afraid. Without winter, there would be no spring. Without death, there is no resurrection. It’s winter that taught me my desperate need.
I have learned what it is to long for Jesus.
And so also on that fateful Saturday between the cross and the resurrection, all creation lay silent, waiting, holding its collective breath. Had the powers of hell prevailed? Would He rise again as He said?
The dark of night is greatest just before the dawn. All hope was lost. The Savior was dead, apparently not really the Savior at all.
But wait. As Sunday crept over the horizon, light eradicated the darkness. Life burst forth from barren trees! Colors spread through a world painted gray! “Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!” As the new life of spring erupts from the death of winter, so did Jesus rise. He arose the Victor.
He is the Spring.