I was sitting in our family room yesterday, admiring all the work I had accomplished on the deck the past few days, when I realized the tall trees were filling out with leaves on their branches. I don't know how I'd missed it but they are the last to fill out every Spring, since it tends to arrive from the ground up.
The property around our house certainly looks best in late Spring through Autumn when the forest wants to show off the finery. By late Winter, I am done with the black, grey, and white landscape that is so beautiful in December. My soul is dry. My imagination is lacking. It is winter and never Christmas, or so it seems.
Then Spring arrives every year and it is as if God is reminding us of the Resurrection all over again. That which appeared dead was made alive. The seed fell to the ground and died and then lived again. The trees lost their leaves and looked long past their prime and then poof... they once again provide relief from the shade and beauty in their abundance.
I love the changing of seasons in the Midwest, even if they can drive me over the edge of frustration at times. For instance, it has been so chilly here that our furnace has come on every evening. There have been only a few pleasant days of true Spring. Now the forecast is calling for 100 degree heat indexes by late week.
Midwestern nature tends to tease me with Spring each year and then throws heat and humidity at me, just when I am enjoying some 70 degree days. I guess it knows that I throw my little temper tantrum each year, stomp my feet and pout, threaten to move to San Diego, and then realize that is the price to pay sometimes for four completely unique seasons.
As I daydream of what it will be like on the New Earth God has promised, I am thankful for the changes that come with Spring. They are an annual reminder that God can and does make all things new and that He is still in control of the planet, no matter what the world around us says.
That is a reminder we all need now as it seems everything that can be shaken is being shaken. We find our anchor in His Word and find that if we read and believe what He has said, then we can understand what is going on around us. Until recently, I didn't understand why the book of Revelation states that those who read it will be blessed.
Blessed is the one who
reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear,
and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. Revelation 1:3 ESV
However, it may be making more sense in the face of recent events. It is like when you are putting together a complicated puzzle without the photo on the box. It is almost impossible to know how the pieces fit together. But when you have the photo to go by, then the puzzle may still take awhile to come together but you know what the final product will look like.
When I was a new Christian, I avoided the Book of Revelation like the proverbial plague. I found it to be strange, confusing, and scary. But over the years I had some very good Bible teachers that wove together the Old Testament prophets, the Gospels, the Letters, and then Revelation and it was no longer scary.
While I know there is discussion and disagreement about the timing of various events... and I have been known to argue with myself over these very same verses... we can all agree that Jesus is coming again and there will be a day when all will be made new.
What the photo on the box is telling me is that we are close to His coming and while the events happening in the world today can be unsettling and even frightening, we can be assured that nothing is occurring that is surprising God. He really does have the ultimate control and the plans of the evil one are kept within the boundaries of the Creator.
He is just as much our anchor in these days as He is when life is quiet and lacking uncertainty or turmoil. I have found Him to be even more the anchor during these times when the winds of adversity and uncertainty are whipping through my news feed because I have more need of that anchor than when I am seeing calm waters all around.
Mentioned in my prayers every evening is our outdoor kitty, Mouse. Recently I was thinking of what outdoor animals in the country face each day (and night) when I was reminded... I am certain by the Holy Spirit... that God says a sparrow does not fall without His knowledge. He understands my prayers for a kitty who lives on the porch... and provides peace that He sees me every moment, too.
My husband is more than a little melancholic and what is happening to our country has had him complaining even to the cats. I like to remind him that it is not my fault and I didn't do it so do not complain to me. What he is learning to do is when he sees the nation falling apart, he now states "Maranatha, Lord Jesus!". (Yes, that was my suggestion.)
My friends, we need to keep our gaze at the picture on the box! The Word of God tells us of the glorious events that are to come! He understands because Jesus lived in a human body 2,000 years ago. He knows what you are feeling when you are afraid of what you are facing, both the uncertainty of today and the uncertainty of tomorrow. You are worth more than many sparrows!
How do I know? Well, first of all we have the Book of the Bible and what He has promised there. Second, we have the Book of Nature that is written by God and is constantly providing new lessons each season.
The leaves that shed their shades of green and showed off their undergarments of lovely reds and rusts and golds and chartreuse before they fell to the ground are now bringing forth new leaves and new life as they do every year where I live. Other friends are enjoying the coolness of Fall before nature goes to sleep for the Winter.
We do not wring our hands and wonder if God is still in control when it snows in April. Although He does hear my annoyance at such an event. But the same God who brings Spring after Winter and Fall after Summer and we don't even think about it... is the same God who is taking care of you and your family.
You were born into the Kingdom for such a time as this. As hard as it is some days, you can face each day bravely when you remember the photo on the top of the box. A New Heaven. A New Earth. Seeing God face to face. Eternal life!
Maranatha, Lord Jesus.
Note: In case there is confusion about the deck, we found out we do not have to tear it down this year. Which was very good news!