As I look out my office window spring and winter are wrestling with one another. The grass is vibrant shade of green, the sky is a cool chilly grey. The cool temperature does not quite match the spring growth outside. I enjoy the transition.
It serves as a reminder to me that new life is on the way, dreariness does not last forever, resurrection is coming. This year that reminder is needed more than ever.
It seems like there is no shortage of hardship, bad news, or gloom for this world to throw at us. A quick look at the news reminds us there is enough to worry about, even before we look at our personal lives. I have to admit this winter has been a difficult season for me. It seems like all the little things that can go wrong have piled up. Perhaps you can relate.
Then this last January my grandmother passed away, and grandpa followed just 7 weeks later in March. They both had long, rich lives living well into their nineties and neither one had to go on long without the other, but the loss still stings and weighs heavier on me than I expected.
While I know my winter is nothing compared to suffering around the world it still hurts. We all have seasons in life where our plans do not work out the way we intend. I have found that God has built into us a hunger for life that is kindled by these difficult seasons.
Ecclesiastes 3.11 tells us this; “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This is both incredibly frustrating and at the same time freeing.
The frustrating part is that while we can see the beauty in life, there is also ugliness, like when we see the innocent suffer or the loss of a loved one. We would prefer that everything was beautiful all the time, rather than just in its own time.
Fortunately there is another side to the story that brings relief; “He has set eternity in the human heart.” Planting eternity in our hearts keeps us from being satisfied with too little of life, or with brokenness. Eternity in our hearts helps us to see beauty in its time, but also allows us to see that something is wrong with life just as it is. This kindles desire in us for better, bolder, truer life than what we are experiencing.
Finally this verse reminds us that eternity, though set in our hearts, eludes our grasp. We want the promise and beauty of eternity but we cannot grab it on our own.
Trust me, this inability to grab ahold of eternity on our own is a good thing. God’s solution is so much better than what you or I could come up with. In the middle of our struggles, God has brought us new life.
This is why I look forward to spring. The season of spring steadily and gently proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ. It reminds me that there is so much more to life than what I can grasp with my own two hands. In just a few Sundays churches all over the world will be celebrating Easter the day that we remember that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ the power of sin and death are conquered.
Take time in the next few days to notice the budding leaves and the flowers popping up out of the tired ground. Life is not dreary forever. Look with new appreciation on ground that is being transformed into something living.
Thank God for the work that he has done and is still doing in the world around you and in your own life.
Josh Walker is the Pastor of Valleyview Evangelical Friends Church, 868 W. William St. in Delaware.