April 29, 2017

Hello fellow travelers on this gloriously spinning globe called Earth! Unless you are reading this in the southern hemisphere, which I doubt, you should be aware, unless you’re stuck in some sort of underground storm shelter or totally clueless to the outdoor world, which I also doubt, that spring has sprung at last! Even after one of the warmest winters on record here in Kentucky, the sproinging of spring brings a certain excitement and joy that warmth in winter cannot reproduce. You would think a 70 degree day in January or March would equal a 70 degree day in April, but no, it doesn’t. And do you know why? It’s the GREEN that comes with the April temps that make the difference!

I was sitting in the sunroom last weekend during our exceedingly rainy spell and I realized that SUDDENLY the bright spring green had finally arrived to our beautiful state. Just a few days before I had been thinking maybe I had missed it. Every year, for a week or so, the brightness of spring green bursts upon my eyeballs and I have to squint to keep from going blind from the brightness. It’s so wildly new and shiny and just plain gorgeous after the long months of dreary gray skies (or sometimes blue and 70 degrees) with brownish lawns and leafless trees. And when we have a snowless winter, that grayish world seems to last forever. Ugh. So this year I had been looking for it with even more than the usual expectancy. I was so annoyed when I thought I had missed it, or because we’d had trees blossoming and crocuses and daffodils coming up in February, maybe we weren’t going to experience the dazzling green this year. But what we hadn’t had yet, were the spring rains that cleaned everything off. And at the same time, KERBLAM! The scarlet oak in our backyard that I always think must be dead for sure because it takes forever to leaf out, SUDDENLY overnight (or sometime when I wasn’t looking out the window) exploded with leaves to complete the holy spring picture! A week later the green is still making my eyes water just a little.

As I sat there last Saturday thinking about how the spring color takes me by surprise every year, no matter how expectant I am, it came to me that answers to prayer are a lot like that. I can pray and pray and pray about something with no apparent result for weeks or years and then BAM! The answer comes all of a sudden right before my eyes. But it’s not really all of sudden. Just like spring, it’s coming for all that time I’m praying and expecting. God is moving and working and bringing His answer into being even when all I see is dreary bleakness. Even when the little changes are happening like the crocuses and the blossoming and gradual leafing out of the trees, I still don’t know it’s coming until the rains fall to clean off the dust of winter and bring that last little burst of life to show me Spring has finally, truly arrived. Just because I’m not blinded by the sparkling light of spring green, doesn’t mean it’s not right there waiting to burst forth. And after it does, inevitably, I can look back and recognize all those little signs that were leading up to it.

When I went to church the next morning, still pondering these thoughts, our ladies’ Sunday School class teacher (Sheri!) mentioned how she loves the SUDDENLYS of the Bible. We were studying the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph went through years of winter bleck as he was sold into slavery by his brothers and then cast into prison on a false accusation. He never faltered in his faith, continuing to lead a life of honesty and integrity, even though he had no idea if he would ever get out of prison or see his family again. And then SUDDENLY God moved. Only it wasn’t really suddenly. All those bad things that had happened to Joseph were the very things that led to him becoming second only to Pharoah in Egypt and saving thousands of people from starvation, including his brothers and father. The SUDDEN turn of events in Joseph’s life, was just the next step in God’s plan for him that he had been living out all those years. As Joseph said to his brothers after they had been reunited in forgiveness, “*You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people*” (Genesis 50:20).

Whoa! Knowing God sees the end from the beginning and is at work through all our circumstances, even the not so great ones that we cause for ourselves, makes me want to do a little happy spring dance! How about you?