Hoping for Spring
by Ann Higginbottom
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…
I walked along the lingering line of the ocean earlier this spring. The water had a chilly bite to it—proof that the winter months were just freshly behind us. The coast was quiet, as most of the spring breakers wouldn’t arrive for weeks. As I walked, I watched the ocean crash. It was a rough tide. The waves collided with an irregular rhythm, not the melody of ebb and flow, ebb and flow, ebb and flow. It was a wild ocean, full of splashing, mist, and power. I kept strolling, amazed at how the Creator can hold back the might of a wild tide with a simple, sandy line.
Then my feet brushed up against something tucked in the sand. As I looked down I was surprised to find a perfect, whole sand dollar. These are rare little sea treasures—even on days when the ocean is calm and tranquil. It seemed like a paradox. How could something so fragile and delicate come from such harsh conditions?
My little beach-find that morning was a glimmer of hope for a weary soul. I needed to remember that beauty can come from rough places. I needed the reminder that the Lord delights in the impossible and can sustain fragile things through harsh conditions. That simple moment, with sandy toes and a sand dollar in hand, gave me hope.
The Lord brings beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). Many times, beholding this great work is like watching the spring unfold. During the cold months of winter, the earth seems to fall asleep beneath frosty temperatures, short days and (depending on where you live) winter conditions of snow and ice. But as spring approaches, creation begins to stir beneath the chill. Tiny buds appear on the tips of bleak tree branches. Grass shoots pop through the gray ground. And the sunshine seems to crack through misty skies and muted landscapes. Life breaks through and begins to grow. Color bursts into the palette once again. Beauty from ashes.
There are seasons of life that feel as bleak and cold as winter. I found myself in that kind of season as I walked the beach. But oh! To behold the beauty and miracle of a fragile shell—perfectly (and surprisingly) preserved. I couldn’t help but think, “Lord, if You can do that with a sand dollar in these rough waters, then You can bring me through this season, too.” It gave me hope for spring.
Still, our darkest seasons and darkest days cannot compare to the day our Savior died on the cross—for me and for you. The earth appeared to break and grieve beneath the chill of our rebellion. The Sun of Righteousness appeared to be extinguished. But God was doing something that no physical eye could see. For a world trapped in cold and darkness, the Lord was bringing life out of death. On the third day, spring came as Christ rose victoriously from the grave—for me and for you.
My friend, consider the spring! Look around you. Life is stirring. The Lord brings beauty from unexpected and improbable places. What beauty might He bring out of this season in your life?