In my perfect world it would never snow in April.
The precipitation I woke up to today is proof that my life is far from the ideal. I looked out the window at a colorless, cold scene, that by this time of the year is supposed to be bright and warm, and began to ask frivolous questions. Why is it snowing? Why am I still cold? Why must it be so dull? It’s April for goodness’ sake!
I don’t think I was alone in my frustration. People in West Michigan are sick of scraping ice off windshields, tired of shivering all day in spite of itchy sweaters, and fed up with the dreariness of gray skies. We long for sunshine and flowers, warmer temperatures and lighter clothing. We have paid our winter dues and are ready for spring. But this morning, on April 18, it was snowing and spring seemed about as far away as the island featured in the Travel and Leisure magazine that came in the mail today.
As I watched the snow fall I realized that my reaction to the weather often mirrors Christians’ attitudes toward life in general. Trials come regularly into our lives and have a nasty habit of remaining longer than we might like. We battle through a long winter, and when we feel a slight thaw we think that perhaps God is finally going to redeem our situations and pour out His loving-kindness on us.
And then it snows.
And it gets colder.
And it doesn’t matter that the ground was for a short moment green because now it is covered in white.
We find ourselves crying out with the psalmists, “O Lord, why do You reject my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me?” and “How long O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever?” We think it is time for God to reveal Himself, but our situations remain difficult and hope seems further away than ever.
Our snow in April comes in many different forms. It might be…
Relentless fear. Nagging doubt. Persistent loneliness. Continual anxiety. Lingering sadness. Constant sickness. Incessant pain. Unfulfilled passion.
It is easy to become so obsessive about our sufferings that we forget truth. And to forget truth is to live a lie. Giving in to the temptation of hopelessness and despair is to spurn God’s Word, which says that God is “before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” He has promised good things for those who are in Christ, and because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we, too, have died and are raised up to be a new person.
Jesus has made, is making, and will make us new. This newness is a brutal process and often means long periods of seemingly endless suffering. But let us take heart and find joy in our tribulation, for God is sovereign over it all and puts it in our lives to refine us and draw us closer to Himself. We must trust in His ability to make flowers out of frost.
It has stopped snowing in West Michigan. It is still a bit chilly for my liking, but the sun is shining and the ice has melted. The bitterness of snow in April is gone, at least for today. It is a reminder to me of the ultimate hope we have in Christ, that one day we will be with Him forever. Our winter is but a breath, and one day spring will last for eternity.