I love Spring.
I love Spring.
I LOVE Spring.
I LOVE SPRING!
Ok, I think you get the picture. Yes, I enjoy the sunshine. I appreciate the longer days. The warmer weather and increased opportunities to work outside are wonderful. But the strongest argument in my passion for Spring is the new life. Everywhere that you look there are new leaf buds, blooming flowers, and garden planting can begin in earnest.
I grew up as a country boy. And even now, though the years of my life are equally split between country and city, my heart beats for the nature that can be enjoyed in the country. If I really had to think about how to explain it, I would explain my love for Spring as traced back to God’s promise to make everything new.
Winter is harsh. The amount of sunlight is reduced to its least. The temperatures are too cold for most living things. There are very few colors to observe. The nights are long. Did I mention that it is cold? Every year of my life has been in Michigan. I have had to learn how to fool myself in order to survive Winter. As soon as we have the Winter Solstice, at which point Winter has barely crossed the doorstep, I remind myself, “Every day from here on out will be a little bit longer.” Feel free to steal that idea next year.
The Winter Solstice, typically marked on December 21, is the shortest “day” (time between sunrise and sunset) in the Northern Hemisphere. After that day, whether you see it or not, Spring is coming. New life is coming. It will not often look that way. Here in Michigan we have an incredible amount of cloud cover because of the surrounding Great Lakes. We can have snow into April. But new life is coming. And, once that life begins, you almost forget the dark and cold months.
I made such a comment to my sons the other morning as we drove to school. Taking in the scene of trees with blossoms, green grass everywhere, and tulips popping open, I commented, “Can you believe how much this changed in just a couple weeks?” It is pretty incredible. It has been less than a month since I returned from my trip to Honduras. The first week back was rough. It rained every day. I literally did not see direct sunlight for five days because of the cloud cover. But new life was coming.
I know, whether or not I always like it, that the seasons we have are for a purpose. They all work for a purpose. Even the dying of Fall and the death of Winter serve a purpose. They become seasons of preparation as well as stark contrasts to the fullness of life He gives in Spring and Summer. So it is with purity. You may be at a point in your walk where it feels more like the season of Fall than that of Spring. Pieces are crumbling around you. You want to do right but you just can’t. Or maybe your purity walk is like that of Winter. You have become so numb to your choices that you almost wish you could feel the pain of Fall. But new life is coming.
The path of righteousness is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18
God gives us small versions of the big picture every day.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
(Once again, either the iPad is smarter than I know, or God is giving confirmation. The song that just started playing on Pandora is “New Day” by Worship Central. God is a God of technology too, amen? Amen.)
Every day that we awake is his act of mercy toward us. We are dead in our sin. We are helpless. I can no more make myself the way I want to be than I can grow tulips outside in Michigan in December. It just will not happen. Romans 11:32 reminds us, “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” It is his mercy that spares us. His grace saves us and restores us.
I have no room to speak on purity. I fail daily. As recently as yesterday I felt strong anger. Pretty sure a neighbor boy saw it as I scowled and carried my runaway 65-pound dog back home. As recently as yesterday I did not “bounce” my eyes away. In my defense, Spring dresses are a welcome sight to a man who has experienced five months of Winter. See? I want to defend it. I want to somehow be “good enough” or at least “not as bad as.” But we are not measured like a light with a dimmer switch: “Well that one shines a little brighter than that one…” No, this is not God “choosing teams” like the playground. We are the light that is measured by the on/off switch. Do you shine light or not?
Well, Doug, if it is simply a matter of on or off, why did you share that verse from Proverbs 4? I’m glad you asked. Because it is not a matter of our light being on or off. We are the equivalent of a light bulb. There is no light in us until the Light is in us.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
We need a Savior. Not optional. And in order for this promised light, which remains in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), to shine in the world, God has to clean us up. That is why I shared the verse from Proverbs 4. As God begins to reveal your impurity, you will see things that previously had been in darkness – the Winter of your life. Every day we see this. The sun rises and begins to shine. At its height and in its brilliance, we see things that we had never seen. If you don’t believe me, compare your home’s windows at midnight and again at noon. (No fair cleaning them before you compare.)
God wants to reveal your impurities. Not to shame you, but to redeem you. He wants to reclaim those parts of life that have been consumed by death. There is no need to fear the light. God exposes so that he can bring new life. As you walk along a path of righteousness, more and more will be revealed. And, by God’s grace, more and more life will come.
You will never grow if you remain in darkness. But, I pray that as the sun wakes you this morning, you are reminded of God’s promise to you: He makes all things new.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for my words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
New life is coming.