LifeLink Devotions (Click here for audio blog)

Friday, February 11, 2022

Ah, spring is coming…soon I hope. It’s not been a bad winter, but I’m ready for outdoor fun. Soon we will be busy with yard work, garage cleaning, and house repairs. Maybe by May 3rd the ice will be off the lakes in time for the fishing opener. The birds are chirping earlier each morning, even though the beauty of their songs is drowned out by the cackling of the crows. Soon we will see those first shoots of crocuses, daffodils and tulips coming through the ground as new life explodes around us, bringing beauty back to what was cold and dreary. I know…too soon for spring fever, right?

One thing I don’t look forward to in spring is all the work that needs to be done before enjoying the fun. It’s easy to miss the beauty of spring when we tend to focus on all that needs to be fixed. There will be trees that need to be trimmed or cut down. Yet seeing only the work causes me to miss the beauty of the new trees that are growing and will bring new shade and shelter for the yard. When I see all of the shrubs that need to be trimmed and all of the leaves that have to be cleaned from the flower gardens, I miss the beginning growth of the raspberry bushes that will soon produce the most delicious fruit for my ice cream. It’s easy to miss the beauty of things when our focus seems to drift towards what’s wrong.

We need to have a perspective adjustment. Here’s a story to illustrate. Four old men were out golfing for the first time in the spring. After several holes, the first man complained, “These hills are getting steeper every year. I’m tired already.”  In response, another said, “They’ve also made these holes longer.” The third man piped in, “The sand traps are bigger than they used to be.” The fourth man could take no more, and chastised the other men for their complaining: “Just be thankful we’re still on the right side of the grass.”

Some days it doesn’t seem like all that bad of an idea to be on the bottom side of the grass – at least I wouldn’t have to mow it anymore. But that’s not how God intends for us to see life. Every winter is a preparation for a productive spring. Every storm is an opportunity for a rainbow. Every sunset leads to a time of rest in expectation of a guaranteed sunrise. Every dark night brings a greater appreciation for the light. God has designed all of life so that we will see the glory of the product rather than the gauntlet of the process.  It’s time to focus on the joy of the finish line rather than the junk on the freeway that we’re travelling.

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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.

That’s why prayer is so important – it keeps our focus on the finish line. It changes our perspective from the present troubles to the future glory of God’s perfect presence. It brings His presence into our present, When we pray, we surrender to God’s authority. Our faith is strengthened as we learn to trust His perfect outcomes. Our resilience is increased as we patiently wait for His timing to accomplish His will. Our fears are diminished as we learn to trust His powerful right hand to sustain us and provide for us. Our spiritual eyes are opened to see the beauty of things that God is doing; things that indicate life is about to explode around us and bring beauty to what we thought were cold and dreary circumstances. Prayer – that intimate time of fellowship with God – brings us hope and peace.

So whatever winter you’re still in right now, get ready. Spring is coming! It’s never not come. Sometimes it’s delayed longer than normal, but it will get here, and soon we will be basking in the warmth of the Son of God as life explodes in beauty around us.

Pastor John

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