Spring Is Coming
I adore the feeling when I wake up and see the sun peeking through my window. I love it even more when the sun spreads her warmth on the land, the snow melts away, and higher temperatures prevail. It’s no wonder my favorite season is spring when tiny, green, new life begins to poke its head up from the ground, and not too long after, colorful flowers bloom.
Even before I knew I would walk this cancer road, I’ve been thinking about the concept of seasons and specifically spring. Last January in the midst of a snowstorm, I drove from Chicago to Cincinnati to attend my future sister-in-law’s wedding shower. Driving through Chicago and Indianapolis was a breeze, however, when I approached Cincinnati the roads became ice rinks and my Mazda6 was sliding everywhere. I vividly remember clutching the steering wheel with white knuckles and driving 20 miles per hour through the hilly Cincinnati highways. Thankfully, I ultimately reached my destination but there were times I wondered if I’d ever make it.
A couple of months later, I recalled my harrowing driving experience as Jared and I drove that same route to my younger brother’s wedding. This time it was a much different scene: green grass on the sides of the hills, leaves beginning to develop on the trees, and sun lighting our way. I thought to myself, “Last time I was here, it felt like spring would never come, and now it’s in full swing.” Little did I know how much I would need that reminder in the days to come.
The last five months in the Warner household have felt quite winter-like. Not just because of our perpetually snow-covered deck, but because of this challenging cancer road. At times, this metaphorical blanket of snow (my health situation) feels like it will never melt. I imagine you can relate to similar disheartening feelings amidst your trying times. These winter seasons make us wonder if spring will ever come.
This past January after hearing of my impending chemo, I received an email from one of my good friends and former roommates. God has used her wisdom to encourage me, remind me of truth, and fill me with hope. She wrote:
“As I laid in bed tossing and turning over this news for you, begging God for some clarity on your behalf, I sat thinking of your time line and what’s ahead of you in the coming months. I couldn’t help but thinking at the end of these ten weeks will be spring. Spring to me is a time of rebirth, hope, anticipation, new life. Even better, it is the time of the resurrection of Jesus. What was such an incredible awful, painful, unbearable, emotionally and physically exhausting road for Jesus turned around in just a few days to be our reason for joy, dancing, new life, redemption, restoration, and a hope and a future with Jesus in heaven. So, those thoughts became the focus of my prayer for you.”
The message and the timing of her words were perfect. I couldn’t articulate my appreciation for spring any better. I have treasured these reminders that God remains ever present in my situation even on those difficult days when hope feels a million miles away.
As I reflect on Easter weekend, I can’t help but think what a deplorable day it must have been for Jesus’ disciples as He was beaten, mocked, and ultimately crucified. Their hopes must have been dashed as Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb—such a different ending than they had envisioned.
Luke 24 provides a glimpse of Jesus’ followers’ deflated spirits. In the passage Jesus approaches them (though they do not recognize Him), and asks them what they are discussing:
“They stood still, their faces downcast…‘Do you not know the things that have happened [in Jerusalem] these days?… About Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the One who was going to redeem Israel’” (Luke 24:17-21).
In the midst of my exhausting chemotherapy, I connect with the disciples’ word choice: “but we had hoped.” They had hoped that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, but due to His death, they struggled with despair. Though my circumstances are much different, at times I can empathize with their despondency.
Worn out from eight weeks of chemotherapy, I sometimes battle a loss of hope that this cancer road will ever be fully behind me. Though I am approaching the finish line now, there were moments I wondered how I would endure these ten weeks. All that I had hoped seemed like a distant cry from what I was experiencing.
I know I’m not alone. Even though your battle may look quite different than mine, most of us have had to fight a loss of hope at some point in our lives. Maybe for you it’s related to a strained relationship, a dream job, marriage, pregnancy, a medical issue, or some other disappointment.
However, I take great comfort in the fact that the hope of the two followers described above wasn’t left dangling. In accordance with His perfect plan, God restored hope for all of His followers when Jesus conquered the grave. Though there are days our circumstances may cause us to question God’s presence in our lives, I am learning that when our hope ultimately rests in God and His unchanging nature, we need not wonder if He will bring restoration. He already did through Jesus’ resurrection and the gift to His followers of eternal life in Heaven.
Because our Savior has risen, even when some seasons feel like never-ending harsh winters, we can trust that spring is coming. Listening to the birds chirping out my window, that has never felt more true.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…
He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,11).