We need the promise of Spring’s renewal, refreshment and rebirth. Last year at this time our anticipation of Spring was met with disappointment and hardship as the pandemic’s weight fell across our community and nation. It’s been a long, hard year, but now we are beginning to feel the warmth of Spring and the hopeful-ness of restoration.
Psalm 30:5 gives us a promise we should hold fast during times like this: “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Life is full of different seasons, some joyful and warm, some cold and filled with sorrow. We walk through dark valleys, but then we emerge into the green pastures. This season of hardship, anxiety, illness and loss will soon pass away, and a new season, a new morning, will bring rejoicing.
We are also now in the middle of Lent, the church season characterized by sorrow, humility and waiting as we approach Holy Week and Easter. In many ways, our experience over the past year has been like a long Lent, extended now for months instead of weeks. Remember how we shut down everything, including all our church activities? Remember how we couldn’t gather for Easter last Spring?
Lent invites us to examine our brokenness and spiritual hunger. It prepares us for Easter by reminding us that we need the Savior, that we are lost without God’s grace. We can’t save ourselves or fix all our problems. We are dust and ashes, lost and blind without God’s mercy. The sorrow and humility of Lent are good for our hearts as they chip away at our pride.
Perhaps in the same way, the pandemic has humbled us and forced humanity to face our frailty. We aren’t invincible. We don’t know it all. We can’t fix every problem. Hopefully, the pandemic has reminded us that we need God and His gracious healing power. Hopefully, we are repenting of our pride and foolish self-reliance.
And now, Spring is coming again. Easter is just around the corner. Hope and healing are on the way. We should rejoice as morning dawns over our church, our families, our community and all of God’s world. This Easter, many of us will be able to gather safely for worship. Soon, all of us will be able to enjoy fellow-ship together in our homes, at church and throughout our city.
Just as Lent’s call to humility is good for our hearts, clinging to the hope of better days can bring us healing. We can let go of some of our anxious thoughts. We can look ahead with joyful anticipation. That’s the promise of Spring, and even more, the promise of resurrection. God has good things in store that will renew our rejoicing.
As we kindle this hope, we also remember that life in this world will have troubles and sorrows. There will be other global crises and personal tragedies. On this side of heaven, we will walk through more dark val-leys, but God will walk with us in those hard moments just as He has walked with us through the pandemic. His promises don’t change with the seasons. His love lasts through the dark nights. Rejoicing will come again in the morning.
Please continue to pray for one another and to reach out with words of encouragement. Your faithful-ness and perseverance have helped sustain our church through this hard season, and I trust God will continue to meet your needs as you care for those around you.