One of the most beautiful parts of Spring in my opinion is when we finally begin to see the emergence of spring flowers.
By the time this is being published, many of those spring flowers in many parts of the world have been here and are already gone; while only in the coldest climates do we still find evidence of spring flowers. And for those of you who live in the southern hemisphere, you are currently in the thralls of fall, with spring flowers being only a distant memory… Nonetheless, I think we can all relate to the thrill in the pit of the soul with the first emergence of flowers in the spring.
It was the first sunny and warm day of the season in our Canadian home, and my wife and I decided it was the perfect day to clean out the flower beds. Now I must tell you that she had done a very good job of this in the fall, only leaving seed-producing flowers for the birds to feed upon. Nonetheless, the whipping winds of late fall and winter had blown in a piles of leaves. In addition, she decided we needed to cut back the raspberry vines so that they didn’t overtake the garden, and we would soon realize that the winter frosts had raised up several of the stakes we had in the ground to keep the landscaping borders and garden plot in place. So with trimming sheers, screwdrivers, hammers and lawn waste bag in hand, we set out.
We thought we were just cleaning up so that the perennials would be able to sprout. Little did we know they already had! We just couldn’t see them because of the leaves, etc! And it was joy in our hearts and a sparkle in our eyes that we uncovered those coveted first signs of Spring: New growth! We even had some crocuses in bloom! At the end of the day, what set out to be a thankless but necessary job turned out to be one that was filled with joy.
Whatever you are facing right now, remember: the “winter” of your life won’t last forever. Spring WILL come! And sometimes what we need to do in order to see the first signs of “spring” in our circumstances is to do what my wife and I did that day: Clear out the “junk” that has accumulated over the “winter” of our circumstances!
What kind of “junk” am I talking about?
Discouragement and depression, for one. These are common side-effects of bad circumstances, and they serve to completely mask the beauty God is trying to work in our trials.
Another common “junk” that we may find is anger and unforgiveness. We may find ourselves angry at the one who caused our circumstances, angry at our inability to cope, even angry at God for allowing this to happen. Once again, our anger can completely cover up any hope.
Yet another kind of “junk” is the extra “baggage” our trials may have caused. Take, for example, the death of a loved one. Not only does this leave behind the “baggage-junk” of grief, but it often also means homes and belongings to clear out, decisions to make, multiple trips to the lawyer, final taxes, etc. The busyness, coupled with the grief, will once again block any sign of God in our circumstances.
Another example is fatigue, and even possibly, physical illness. Perhaps the trial was a blow to our health, or perhaps it simply resulted in extra care-giving burdens being laid at our feet. Either way, we may not physically be able to go on, and this overwhelming fatigue blinds us to God’s hand of blessing.
One final example is worry and stress. This is a very common kind of “junk” left behind by the “winter” of our circumstances. While we are busy worrying about the future and stressing out over what tomorrow might bring, there is no place left in our hearts to look to see what God has to say about our circumstances.
There are many more, but I think you get the idea. In the same way the winter left behind dead leaves, etc. in our yard, and that “junk” covered any signs of Spring, the “winter” times of our lives leave behind junk as well. In order to be able to see God’s hand in our circumstances, we have to first clear away the “junk”!
It’s easy enough to remove dead leaves, but how do we remove the kind of “junk” we are talking about here?
Perhaps this “yard cleaning” requires some humility and repentance. Consider the following text:
“…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”(1 Chron 7:14 NASB)
I would suggest that the best thing to do is to go to God in the midst of our “winters”. Give Him our anger. Let Him help us to forgive. Give Him our extra burdens, our fatigue, our physical illnesses. Surrender the future to Him. When we do, we will be able to begin seeing how our “winters” are truly not going to last forever! Remember the promise of 1 Peter 5:6-7:
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.”1 Peter 5:6-8 NASB)
Yard cleaning, anyone? Why not spend some time with God today? Give Him the “winter junk” from your circumstances, then stand back and see where He is already at work, where your “spring” is actually on the way!
In His love, Rob Chaffart
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries