At the start of the summer, I attended an art show put on by Art House Dallas to support my best friend in presenting her incredible body of work! There were several artists who presented and talked about the inspiration behind their collections. One of the artists presented her paintings and as she was sharing about one piece, she was talking about how thoughts on spring inspired her. Then a simple phrase struck a chord in me…she said, “spring is dangerous.”
Dangerous. That’s not something you usually think of when it’s springtime. Spring is notorious for being this happy, bright new season where things come to life. There are bright colors, warmer temperatures, and a magical bunny that brings candy and eggs. We get so excited about spring because it means that the long dreadful winter is over.
Winters can be so dreary and dark, that we are so excited for change…no matter what it is. We get so excited, in fact, that we often overlook the brutality of spring storms. However, the fact remains that in the midst of this beautiful, refreshing, colorful new season, there are some unpredictable and dangerous possibilities. Spring storms are sudden, scary, and can be so intensely damaging. When they come, they show no prejudice, no favorites…all of us are on an equal playing field. They are fierce, quick, and merciless. Before we know it, the dangers of spring have entrapped us, and wrecked us…leaving us longing for yet another season.
I think it’s like that with our soul…when we have just gone through a cold, harsh winter, we cling to the hope of a new season…if the ground will just thaw, and the sun will just shine – there will be new growth and fresh hope in our lives. It’s easier to deal that way, I suppose.
However, I can’t help but think…what if spring was just all the fluffy, bright, new things we talk about? If the storms never come, how do we know what’s really taken root vs. what’s going to last only for a moment? Sometimes, in the newness of things, we lose our footing, or we get distracted from what we really want. We’ve been waiting so long focusing on a new season, that we get distracted like waves tossed in the wind.
Storms help us stay grounded…because we hold more tightly to the one who is over all seasons. It shifts our focus from the hope of change and something new back to the Lord, the giver of life.
Walking into new seasons of life is scary. It’s risky and unnerving. Yet, we all do it…all the time. What choice do we have? A new job, new relationship, a new city, school starting, etc.…they all demand we walk into new seasons. When it first starts out, we are usually excited about the adventure, and full of expectations that this will be the best one yet. It lasts for a time…the honeymoon phase. Then the storm comes. The sirens go off, we try to duck and cover and hold onto what’s closest to us. The reality hits us of what we’re now in, and we freak out. Maybe it’s a job loss, a divorce, a mental health battle…they can totally derail us in a moment when we’ve been on this high of spring. But, what if we let the season we’re in, with the storm, whether winter or spring, get rid of the stuff that doesn’t need to be in us anymore…the stuff that needs to die off, never to return, so the new things can grow! Or maybe it’s because God wants to grow something deep in us that we would never gain otherwise. What if we see what stands after the crazy spring storms and run with it?
What if we held things less tightly, nurtured the new growth in front of us, enjoyed the new life, and when a storm rips it from us, we are free to let go of it because we never held too tightly in the first place? Then, when things really grow, survive and take deep root, and make it through all the seasons, continuing to stand tall, we can stop and see the beauty and the miracle of it.
The beauty and the miracle of life and breath that God has brought to the thing that survived…
I think sometimes we come with this expectant hope (which is a very good and needed thing) but we come with it so naively … or not anchored in the right thing, that when the storms come, our hopes are dashed and we are left devastated – instead of holding lightly and trusting the Lord that He causes the growth and allows the storms, and He brings the good work to completion in us.
What is our hope is really anchored in during those moments. Is it the promises of the Lord rather than the Lord himself? What if we lived more in the moment and were prepared for the dangerous storms of spring, knowing that the Lord causes the growth, brings protection, and is ever present in the midst of the danger?
This is a battle I’ve walked through with the Lord for months now. I have had things stripped from me or withheld altogether that I thought surely it was time for. I’ve had my hope so built up from such a long and tiring winter only to have a spring storm come and snap me back down to size. I realized in some of those moments, my hope wasn’t in the right thing. It was in the new job, or the thought of a different future. It’s pushed me closer to Jesus.
As each passing storm comes, I see how beautiful spring really is in the midst of the pain and the brokenness. Painful yes but beautiful nonetheless.