Robins hop in the street and we feel ridiculously excited; mud puddles shrink smaller every day; the sterile, black-brown of winter tree bark gives way to the faintest flush of green and pink life--as if a resuscitation is under way! Another long Canadian winter-kingdom of icy cold yields to the irrepressible, insistent usurper: Spring!
Spring: the emblem of of Hope When All Seems Lost; when a vision is sealed in a stone cold tomb and dead. Spring is a reminder to trust in certainties based on trust not evidence; to trust in a promise.
The endless cycle of the seasons replicates the cycles of life and carries a message of hope and faith.
Each fall I can't help it, I mourn for summer too quickly gone like an insatiable lover for her beloved. August comes and the first tinges of scarlet and gold in trees that still shimmer greenly lush in summer heat. "Too soon!" cries my heart.
I grieve the passing year as the cars come down the highway from cottage country, weighted down with canoes strapped tightly and piled high with sleeping bags, pillows and bags of belongings headed for the city again.
In the blazing beauty of a Canadian fall there is sadness in the pungent scent of decay and the funeral pyre smoke rising from a thousand backyard bonfires.
In the deep of a long Canadian winter, when the ground is frozen many feet deep, it is hard to comprehend that life will burst from that stone cold death, and yet...every year we get to witness a miracle as tiny insects begin to creep and crawl from the earth and green burgeons relentlessly.
There are so many winters. The long silent years between the biblical books of Malachi and Matthew--400 years more or less. How interesting that Malachi ends with a promise:
1-3 "Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you'll tromp on the wicked. They'll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day." God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. (Malachi 4:1, The Message)
The book of Matthew begins the four gospels with the fulfilment of a promise; the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The book of Acts and the epistles start with another promise:
7-8He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."And of course, the final words of the final book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, ends with these words: yes, another promise:
9-11These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, "You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left." (Acts 1:8-11, The Message)
Revelation 22:20-21 (New International Version, ©2011)In spite of the cold death of winter we believe in spring because we have seen it come year after year.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen
I believe in the promises of God because when I read the Bible I see prophesies already fulfilled in such numbers and exactness that I wonder that the National Enquirer hasn't caught on. And I therefore know that the prophesies for the future will be certainly fulfilled. In fact I believe that prophecy is really telling what has already gone before but has yet to be lived in time.
In the winter of our own dead dreams, our seasons of loss and grieving; God is at work as surely as he is at work in the cold winter season. He is creating the material of spring to come.
And he is the God of Promises never Broken.