April 11, 2006
"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." (Genesis 8:22)
I'm glad that I live in Michigan. We may complain about the weather and laugh about how it can be winter in the morning and a beautiful spring day by afternoon, but I think there is so much to be learned from God's creation as evidenced in nature and the changing of the seasons. Let's look at a cardinal, a daffodil, a Savior and you.
Consider the cardinal. The brightest red I have ever seen. Perched high atop a tree that is totally barren of leaves. Singing so loudly that all else went still. A beautiful song. I imagine he was calling out to his friends, "Hey guys! Wake up! Spring is here! Get a move on!" Even though the tree is bare and there is still a chill in the air, he KNOWS Spring has sprung. Surrounded by hard branches he sings the new song and testifies to God's faithfulness that spring is coming. Good times are on the way!
Consider the daffodil. One lonely daffodil. Bright yellow among a bunch of green flowerless stalks. She's calling out to her friends too. "Hey you! Wake up! Show your colors! Spring has sprung!" The earth beneath her is still a bit cold and hard. Nothing much seems to be happening around her. But her beauty assures us God is faithful and spring is on it's way.
Consider Jesus. Sharing supper with his closest friends, knowing that it would be their last meal together on earth. Feeling in His spirit the winds of opposition and hatred growing outside the room where they ate. Only a few days before, the crowds cheered Him on and proclaimed Him the one who comes in the name of the Lord. "Hosanna"! they cried. (Luke 19:38). Right now they were planning His death. He knew that He was about to become the fulfillment of all that had been written about Him.
Consider Him at Gethsemane (Mark 14). Overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death is how He described it. Paul Shepherd in his novel, "More Like Not Running Away", describes it like this: "I'D ALWAYS KNOWN, in one place in my throat, how Jesus must have cried in the garden?crying not to die, because there was no fear of death, and not to leave his friends, because he walked alone, and not to suffer, because the blood and bruises and thorns were part of his perfection?but crying because he could not find his Father's face, because when he would suffer all that he could bear, the pain of every person, living and dead, in that dark moment, there was really nobody there."
Consider the betrayal of Judas. The denial of Peter. The arrest. The floggings. The mocking. And worst of all the crucifixion. But also "fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM (emphasis mine), endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. CONSIDER HIM who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12: 2-3) Jesus knew what was ahead. The Bible says it was the JOY set before Him. The joy of the resurrection. The joy of defeating death, hell and the grave. The joy of finishing the work the Father sent Him to do. The joy of seeing you in right relationship with the Father because of what He had done. He knew winter was past and spring was on it's way. He knew His Father was faithful.
Here's where you come in. Hebrews goes on to say that "in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." (Hebrews 12:4) I don't care what we are going through today, it pales in comparison to what Jesus did for us. You will never suffer the way Jesus suffered. And never say, "Well, He was God...He could handle it." No, He was also fully man and suffered just as you and I would. But He knew what was ahead. And by faith, we need to be sure of what is ahead. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11: 1) Be certain that God is faithful. Be certain that He answers prayer. Be certain that He will never give you more than you can bear (1 Corinthians 10: 13).
There was a crucifixion, but after that came the Resurrection. There was a dark, cold winter, but after that came a spring. Your world and circumstances may be dark and cold today. Your pain may be unbearable and excruciating. But like the cardinal, the daffodil and Jesus, I am calling to you, "Hey guys! Wake up! Have faith! God is faithful! Spring has sprung!" I'm sure of it!