As I write this post, it’s early April. I’m sitting at my table looking out my front window, watching snow flurries twirl in the wind. It just seems wrong for it to be this cold and snowy two weeks after the first day of spring. I am so over winter!
Have you ever felt over it? Not necessarily just the weather but a hard situation or a prolonged difficult season in life? I certainly have. In ways that go beyond the temperatures outside, I feel as if I’m in a perpetual season of winter right now, and most days I just want to see a change in my current “season.”
Author Christine Hoover knows what that feels like. In fact, she wrote an entire book about it. As soon as I read the title, Searching for Spring, I knew this book was for me. My copy is underlined, marked up, and tear-stained. The inconsolable longings, the barrenness of winter, the ache for purpose in this life—these are deep, heavy emotions I’m all too familiar with. But Christine’s words point me back to the Creator of all things beautiful and good.
Using Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 as her outline, Christine takes us on a high-sensory journey through the four seasons, pointing out how God makes all things beautiful in time, starting with . . .
Summer is our reminder that God is alive and at work, despite times in recent past when we couldn’t see Him. Christine says we must be “perpetual seekers in a cosmic game of Hide and Seek” to find despair-defying hope in the midst of pain in a marred world.
Just because we can’t see how God has made and is making all things beautiful doesn’t mean it’s not true. It just means we must know where to look and where to listen.
Will we choose to focus on the beauty of our current season or on the inconsolable things of life?
A season of changes—some of it beautiful, like the turning of the leaves each year; some of it not so agreeable, like the signs that winter is near that taints the beauty around us. Yet even as signs of life begin to fade, we’re blessed with an unexpected display of God’s artistic ability like none other. The question is, will we choose to focus on the beauty of our current season or on the inconsolable things of life?
We cannot expect to change what Jesus has left unfixed for the moment.
That dreaded, barren season of frozen dreams and sunless days that seems to drag on endlessly. We wonder when relief will come. When will we feel the warmth of the Son again? Will our hearts ever thaw?
Christine spends the bulk of her book addressing this season of waiting—when the horizon looks dim and the song in our heart is silenced. But as she beautifully depicts, the Master Composer is still at work. He is with you.
Even in the midst of horrendous suffering, God never leaves, never shames, and never is sidetracked from his goal of bringing redemptive beauty.
The seven chapters devoted to “winter” are all about seeing God for who He really is by lifting up our eyes and shifting our focus off ourselves and onto the beauty of our Creator. He is:
- The Potter—the One who shapes and fashions us from conception to resurrection and every moment in between.
- The Composer—the One who orchestrates our lives and leads in song those who tune their hearts to His Spirit.
- The Betrothed—the One who prepares a place for His beautiful waiting bride.
- The Artist—the One who weaves grace into our story and paints beauty into our lives, reminding us that we too are creatives with a story to tell.
- The Author—the One who loves us in our weakness and writes us into His redemption story.
- The Joy-Whisperer—the One who infuses joy into our weary hearts if we will only silence the noise and distraction long enough to hear His gentle voice.
- The Pattern—the One who showed us how cultivating beauty is an act of worship and a love offering to our Creator.
In all of this, of course, the hard things are still hard. We still live in a sin-cursed world. The pain and questions of “how long?” don’t just go away. Even so, “winter, though barren with inconsolable things, is not death but merely dormancy.” That’s because . . .
Spring Is Coming!
When we fill our viewfinder with God’s goodness and faithfulness, a glimmer of hope begins to take root.
This hope fuels us, enables us, settles us, and also produces a beautiful faith in us in the process of waiting.
After offering comfort and truth for the downtrodden and discouraged, the book crescendos into the final “chapter” of time—the time, as Ecclesiastes says, when God will make all things beautiful!
Life is messy and painful. We all have unfulfilled longings and questions. But you know what? Even in the barrenness of winter, there is hope.
Even in the barrenness of winter, there is hope.
God is alive and at work. He is here with you, with me, and He is good and loving and kind.
And He cares.
He doesn’t just care for all His other children—He cares for you! He is near. Will you quiet your heart long enough to hear His whisper? Will you pause to see the signs of spring that are budding right in front of you?
This isn’t all there is. One day “the former things shall not be remembered” (Isa. 65:17) and Jesus will make all things new (Rev. 21:5)! Until then, we fight for joy. We love. We create. We worship. We search for spring.