During extraordinary times, especially when we learn that a loved one is ill or has died, we feel helpless, fearful, and anxious. As those who have experienced the death of a loved one know too well, loss of control is an inescapable dimension of grief that easily distracts us from the sum and substance of ordinary daily living.
At an unfamiliar time of uncertainty, waiting, disorder and inactivity in our life, especially when we grieve there is space for reflection and introspection. There is space to explore and embrace opportunities that enrich our soul and grow our faith. When we experience circumstances beyond our control, we learn more about what we value and who we are.
From the day my husband received a terminal diagnosis, I was oblivious to almost everything in life except the dire dailiness of the race against death. A few months after he died, an acquaintance asked me about some event that happened during the three months of his illness. Without much thought, I answered, “Oh, I missed the spring that year.” In truth, I have little recollection of anything during that time except coming and going from the hospital each day and my inner struggle to reconcile my faith the certainty of a bleak medical reality.
During the worst of times, the changing seasons remind us of the steady, faithful presence of God, “for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone” (Song of Solomon 2:11). In spring, the beauty of nature holds the promise of new life—daffodils emerging from the earth, the rich colors of tulips in bloom, the first tentative azaleas in bud. Trees seem to burst into full leaf almost overnight. As surely as spring fades, inevitably nature moves toward the heat of summer, the first chill of autumn, and the cold of winter.
Too easily we take for granted the beauty of nature, the gift of each new day. Seldom do we pause long enough to watch clouds shift across the sky or to consider the images we see hidden within. We complain about the heat of summer and hunker down against the snow and cold of winter. Do we celebrate with equal energy the joy of spring flowers or the beauty of autumn leaves? We do not know exactly how or when the seasons change, except through the invisible work of nature in God.
Though we endure the trials and tests of grief, when at last the worst of grief has run its course, much like the spring, life begins to move forward again in new, unexpected ways, more beautiful than everr before, “I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:4).
Those who persevere through seasons of grief are graced with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—gifts of grief revealed by God through the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. When we persevere through a time of great physical, personal, emotional, and spiritual stress and distress, at last we prevail through the comfort and love of God.
Wherever you are in your life, wherever you are in your grief, the promise of spring is about hope and renewal. Don’t miss the spring.
He changes times and seasons….he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.