Year of Spring11:49 PM
“In the next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly.
‘Why it is the branches of trees!’ exclaimed Lucy.
“And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.”
“After a year of winter will come a year of spring” sang the lovely woman in the long red dress. Sitting at a concert in Wuerzburg, a wisp of wind went through my hair and touched my face. “That’s for you” the king's unmistakable voice whispered and then all was still. It was after my first year in Germany, which was a tough one to say the least. A year of spring. The idea tickled my fancy and ran wildly through my thoughts. When would it come? Was it here already?
But it didn't come. Instead came a winter of epic proportions that was to turn my life up
side down and cause changes in me that were irrevocable, irreversible.
“ ‘ Meanwhile,’ said Mr.Tumnus, ‘It is winter in Narnia,
and has been for ever so long...."
C.S. Lewis The Lion,
the Witch, and the Wardrobe
One Sunday morning, I was singing at a church service. The night before I'd received a phone call informing me that my friend was at last succumbing to her long battle with cancer. Standing up there on that stage, singing praises to a God I found increasingly harder to understand, I suddenly knew that she was gone. The beautiful lady was dead. Searching the faces of my friends for some signs of this dawning truth, I sang on. And when the service was over, the mourning began.
As I sat in the wake of the devastation that was my life, assessing the damages and trying to overcome the uncontrollable grief welling up inside of me, this verse played in my head. “For there our captors required of us songs and our tormentors, mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of those songs of Zion!’” Psalm 137:3. I found myself like a nightingale singing in the darkest of nights, the depths of which my soul alone knew. And like Jacob of old, I struggled with my God. My songs were not songs of triumph, but of deep, revolting, pain.
"Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!"
- Mr. Tumnus The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Spring! He’d promised me! The word resonated in my head in anger and frustration. By June a second person I deeply cared about was tragically killed. The ministry I'd expected to give my life to, seemed to be dying as well. By August my grief was uncontainable and I decided to take a year off ministry. The word "loss" seemed to define the whole of my life. I had found myself too deep in my own pain to answer questions about a God I didn't know how to trust anymore. Oh, how those words resonate on the page! I, this weak little pluck of creation, didn’t trust the One whose greatness surpasses words. Walking through the shadow of death had cast a pall over my own life. The King comforted me in that darkest of hours with the words, “I will turn her mourning into gladness; I will give her comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:3. I came home, back to America, back to retrieve a faith that was battered and beaten to say the least.
And then, ever so slowly, something began.
After the winter came the rain.
And after the rain came something else.
It was a cracking of branches, a breaking of old ideas, a cleaning out of the dark corners of the mind, and a hand placed gently back into the hand of the Maker’s. The storm had passed, the night ended, but the spring was yet to come.
“Wrong will be right,
when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar,
sorrows will be no more,
When he bears his teeth,
winter will meet its death,
And when he shakes his mane,
we shall have spring again."
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Have you ever stayed up to watch the dawn? I grew up on a wide desert plain where the dawn is particularly spectacular. At first it starts like a crack in a crevice, a beam slowly peaking around a mountainous curve. And just when you think your eyes are playing tricks on you and the darkness will merely continue, the sun in all her glory floods the plains with millions of magnificent colors, portraying, accenting, and softening every ill-defined shape. What had seemed an endless night was broken by the piercing light of dawn. I reached out for His hand one last time. Relationships that seemed broken forever were entirely restored. Hope that seemed lost was once again found.
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may stay for a night but.....
Yesterday evening, the King called me to Him and we just sat together. There was no more sorrow or sighing or weeping, though surely those things will come again. It was as if they had never existed at all, had never had a place in my life. He was there. That was all that mattered. And as I rested in those strong, heavenly arms, my heart breathed in joy, the fresh, lasting kind that fills up your whole being with strength.
Perhaps you're living through a winter of life that never seems to end. Battles, discouragements, and failures have left you too exhausted to believe that anything better will come. Let me encourage you to hang on to Him. It will pass, there will be an end, and one day you will wake up and see the fruits of what seemed only barrenness and waste. He is still at work even when your own hands are incapable of action. He has not and will not give up on you even when those lies are whispered into your soul in the dark depths of the night.
The King is coming.
Aslan is on the move!
AND AFTER A YEAR OF WINTER.....
"Come now my love, my lovely one come. For you, the winter has passed, the snows are over and gone, the flowers appear in the land, the season of joyful songs has come. The cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land. Come now my love. My lovely one, come. Let me see your face. And let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful. Come now my love, my lovely one, come." Song of Songs 2:10-14
Let this be the year of spring.