When I drafted this post a few days ago it was snowing, and I was mortally offended.
I was done with snow at the beginning of March, when the sun started to beam down and I was blessed with sixty- and seventy-degree days. I put my fleece back in the closet. I tentatively started to wear short-sleeved shirts again. I contemplated putting a spring wreath on the front door.
It’s April, I told myself. Spring is here.
Except it wasn’t quite, and, as I said, I was mortally offended. But you know what I’m not?
I’m not worried. I haven’t freaked out and called the local meteorologist to ask them why spring has been canceled. I haven’t started camping out in my front yard, questioning my friends and neighbors about whether this is maybe the first year that there will be no spring. I haven’t burned my t-shirts or the spring wreath.
I’m not worried because, for the thirty-three years I have lived on this planet, winter has eventually ended. In fits and in starts, yes, and sometimes an odd snowstorm or even a blizzard will crop up, but it does end. Every year that I have been alive, spring has arrived and the cycle of the seasons continued apace. This is the way the world moves. This is the way life is.
It’s embarrassing to realize that I trust the cycle of the seasons a good deal more than I trust God. Maybe most of us do.
Because I’m far calmer about snowstorms than spiritual storms. I am convinced that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and I have been moving toward it for many years, but the slightest variations on that plan – unexpected events, delays, obstacles – throw me into an immediate tailspin of panic. I question everything. I assume that maybe spring is not coming and was never intended to come and I read God’s desires wrong all along. I question the direction God has pointed me in and I storm the throne and demand answers. I wonder if I’ll have to go right back to the drawing board.
It’s so short-sighted.
Granted, it’s never a bad thing to reflect on where we are, what God wants for us, and what we perceive His plans for us to be. Sometimes things do change, and sometimes a change in direction is called for. But sometimes – sometimes! – God’s plans just take time to blossom. A lot of time. They will come into fruition, just like spring, and all in God’s good time. We just lack the perspective to see it.
Please understand: the obstacle, the storm, the delay will pass. Too many times we believers run into these things as we go about our work for the Lord and we perceive them as an end; we call off spring, and we turn around and go home. And we miss out on so much.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12)
In tests large and small, through all the false starts that make us wonder what’s going on and whether we should turn around and go home, perseverance is one of the most significant elements of faith. I’ll stay, it says, trusting in what is ahead. And like any skill, it is one that demands practice over and over again – even in the middle of the freak spiritual snowstorms that obscure our view of what was promised.
Obstacles aren’t always meant to be avoided. Delays don’t mean that you should leave and go home.
And some snowstorms are meant to be endured. Spring’s still coming.
May you be blessed as you keep moving forward.