Growth after winter…
I am writing this on the warmest day of 2018 so far and, whilst I cannot predict what “treats” the weather will be delivering on the day you read this, we are assuredly out of the winter season. Forgive me if you are now rolling your eyes as you peer out the window! Our gardens have transitioned from the resting and waiting of winter through this time of opening buds and blossom before the summer fruitfulness and subsequent harvest. It’s a time of energy, life and anticipation.
I also spent the winter months hidden away, resting and waiting. As many know, I suffered from a relapse of chronic fatigue, which left me incapacitated for several months. Thank you for your prayers and care through that challenging, but spiritually deep, season.
It did give me opportunity to once again muse over my absolute favourite flower: the humble snowdrop. Emerging in January-February, it is known as the last flower of winter. The first flowers of spring, like the daffodil, signify new life. The snowdrop therefore is the floral symbol of hope and encouragement of that promised new life to come. It quietly and unassumingly promises that the winter will end even though there are few signs of new life around. The snowdrop thrives in the apparently hopeless environment of those cold and dark months.
In our own lives, it is similarly in those challenging seasons that we need hope. Housebound with fatigue, it would have been easy to look at my circumstances and give in to despair and fear. God used the snowdrop to encourage me to hold on to the hope I live by: the hope of everlasting life in Christ Jesus because He has conquered the power of sickness, shame and death by dying with them and then rising victorious over them. The trouble will come to an end. We celebrate this new resurrection life at Easter.
As a church during May we go on to celebrate Christ’s Ascension (returning in body and Spirit to His heavenly throne) and then Pentecost ten days later. Before He ascends, Jesus promises to send the helper, counsellor, encourager known as the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is another season of promise and waiting with hope. This time the hope is of receiving the Holy Spirit into our own lives to bring transformation, fullness of life and fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) whoever we are, whatever we’ve done and no matter what our circumstances feel like. Have hope in the promise!