Spring has always been a time of hope for me.
As a child I looked forward to “spring break” from school. It always meant a trip to North Carolina to begin cleaning up Holly Cove Campground which my parents ran in the summer. We would clean up the camp sites and prepare for the opening in May. The hope of seeing old friends and making new ones in the summer ahead was exciting to me.
In college, spring break meant traveling with friends to a warmer location. The hope of seeing new places encouraged my love of travel.
As a teacher, spring break was a “break”, but also the sign that the school year was almost complete and the hope that the year had been accomplished well for my students.
Since we purchased our first home in 1980, spring has held a new hope for me. The hope of seeing the plants bloom in our garden. Our first home was an older farmhouse built in 1930 and weeds and brush had really grown up around the yard. As Phil and I worked cutting back the brush it was delightful to see what grew underneath. I greeted each new day with an anticipation of what would push through and bloom. We lived in that home 25 years and those flowers were a blessing we added to each year.
In 2005 we moved to another older home, built in 1880, and my parents moved in with us. This yard had been carefully planted by Peggy Queen Mason and it has older plants from 100 years ago as well as many Mrs. Mason added in the 1980’s. Again we were excited to see all that bloomed in spring since we had moved in in November. We have lovingly added to our garden planting a tree in honor of each of our grandchildren.
Now each spring I anticipate with hope the joy of seeing what will grow and bloom in our garden.
Yet one concern I always have is a late freeze. How many times have I enjoyed lovely warm days in early spring? Then, there is a a late freeze and budding flowers turn brown. My hopes of enjoying those blooms are dashed! We have had days in the 70’s this week and everything is blooming and buds are swelling! I found myself worrying about a late freeze.
I was talking about this with my friend Alice Marie and she reminded me that worrying doesn’t change anything. It is a waste of emotional and spiritual energy. Instead she encouraged me to ENJOY those flowers that are currently blooming instead of focusing on something I have no control over – the weather.
It reminded me of the way I focus on possible tragedies that my children or grandchildren may face – like when they are learning to drive. When I focus on the dangers one faces living in our broken, fallen world, I miss enjoying the blessing of today..
In Romans 5:3-5 Paul addresses this very issue.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Hope in God never leads to ultimate disappointment. It is founded in the faithfulness of God. That does not mean we won’t face disappointing circumstances in our daily lives – WE WILL! But God’s love for us is eternal and the confident hope of our salvation is sealed by His Holy Spirit. Come what may in my life, my hope is in God’s everlasting love for me.
So I will enjoy all the flowers blooming this week and not let worry of a future I cannot control damper the glorious demonstration of God’s love for us in His creation.