Have you noticed? The sun is shining a bit brighter. The birds are chirping a bit louder. The days are getting longer and warmer. The smell of spring is in the air. The seasons are changing. Finally. I love the months of spring! There is something so precious about new life and new hope. A promise that all winters will come to an end and transition into beauty and splendour. But this year, spring is extra special – lockdown restrictions are lifting, and it seems as if the curve might be flattening. This COVID winter might also be over soon.
This winter was harsh. It was colder than it has been in many years. As South Africans, we are sissies when it comes to cold and we cuddled under blankets and sipped our soup in our non-insulated houses. Gauteng is ugly during winter. Everywhere you look it is dry and brown. There is no beauty to be found outside. The scenery matched our moods as we took on this pandemic.
Eventually, the last cold front gave way to blooming buds and warmer days. I love the smell of springtime! You can feel the seasons changing from the moment you wake up. The clivias are promising that the other flowers will follow soon. Although we are lazy gardeners, our garden is showing off the splendour of our Creator who is never lazy.
Besides the weather, the winter in our hearts was tainted with fear. We battled trauma on a scale most of us have never had to face in our lifetimes. We feared the loss of our jobs and businesses. We feared that we, or worse, our loved ones, would get this dreaded virus. We couldn’t hug each other or physically be there for each other. For many weeks we couldn’t even leave our homes.
Although there is still a long road ahead, we made it to level 2! We can see each other again – with masks and without hugs – but we can be together. We can enjoy a glass of wine guilt-free. We can look forward to changing. The end is in sight as long as we keep safe and stay strong. The in-between season promises that the summer of recovery is at hand.
Prince Charlie often tells the story of his high school principal who read the same Bible text during every end-of-term assembly:
A Time for Everything
For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
The changing seasons in nature serves as evidence of our Heavenly Father’s promise to us that the winters in our lives will also give way to spring. They might be short and swift, or sometimes long and severe with ruthless storms. Regardless, the cold will give way to warmth. The dry, dusty drought will be replaced by rain, new growth, and abundance. There is no way around the winter except through and it will be more than worth it when you get to the other side. In the same chapter of Ecclesiastes, we are assured: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (v.11)
Since we know that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), we can trust in his unfailing love. He is always there for us, so we can depend on him regardless of what season we find ourselves in.
We can trust in his promise:
“Behold, I am doing a new thing;Isaiah 43:19
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”
I can feel Jesus renewing my soul through his Spirit. He is replacing fear with joy; discouragement with excitement; anxiety with peace. My heart is excited for the future for the first time in a long time. I cannot take any credit for this because I cannot explain it. I believe it is only through the grace and goodness of Jesus that I can feel him doing a new thing.
I know there are many who struggle during this time. I also know that the effects of an economic shutdown will reverberate for months into the future. My prayers are with everyone facing unimaginable struggles in this season. Many are still in the middle of their dark winter. Therefore, I do not take it for granted how blessed I am with a positive outlook and so much to be grateful for.
My wish for you is a new season in your heart as the natural season changes. I wish I had a magic recipe, but I can only share my own experience. I have been spending time in God’s word and many hours in prayer throughout the day. When I feel the threat of the spirit of anxiety, hopelessness and fear beating down my heart’s door, I pray for peace. For the first time, I can honestly say that I am curious with what the Lord is doing with my life, but I trust him with his plan – whatever that might look like. (I would love a trailer of the future, but I don’t think Jesus works like that.)
Like one of our dear sisters reminded us every day we picked her up for church or choir practice:
God is good. All the time!
Growing up the only “popular” music in our home was my parents’ one collection of tapes from the 50s and 60s. So, when my dear friend Mathilda copied her Now CD (this was one of the early ones, but I can’t find which number) on a tape for me, I devoured that tape. I learned every single word from every single song and can still sing along with confidence when these golden oldies start playing on the radio. So today’s selection is the first song I think of when I think of seasons changing. Enjoy!