Anyone who knows me well knows I think analogously. For every concept, skill, story, person, place, etc. I have an analogy or how it relates to another. I have a difficult time remembering and understanding things I have no parallel for. If I cannot relate the unknown to something known, I am utterly lost. It is not surprising, then, that I continually relate sights and experiences in my daily life to bigger ideas rolling around in my head. So, as I was walking next to the canal on our unseasonably warm day on Tuesday, I was not merely soaking up sun rays; I was processing the deeper significance of how the weather relates to my own life.
Ohio had an unusually brutal winter. This season seemed it would never end and I honestly began to give up hope I would ever enjoy the outdoors again. For the past five months I have been frozen to the core, blasted by winds and snow, and held captive by the never ending darkness without any hope that spring would ever come. I felt as if I was in Narnia before the White Witch was vanquished. It was always winter, but never Christmas. I could literally feel my entire being crying out for warmth and sun. My few days long trip to Florida at the beginning of March did little to calm this desire. If anything, the few days of sunshine ignited the embers of that desire into a roaring flame. I was feeling absolutely desperate for spring, but winter prevailed.
Saturday we were hit with another snowstorm. I wasn’t aware we were expecting any snow, let alone the 3-4 inches that awaited me as I exited the mall wearing ballet flats with bare feet. As my mom, grandma, and I made the difficult trek home that day, we passed car after car fruitlessly spinning their wheels in an attempt at forward motion. Strangely, I found myself relating to these vehicles and their drivers. As is my constant M.O., I began to relate the sights around me to the stirrings in my heart. Right now, I feel I should be going somewhere, but no matter what effort I put forth, I feel as if I am only spinning my wheels. It is as if I am stuck in a never ending winter, and the path to my future is so iced over I can’t make any progress. My surrounding fit the tone of my heart, and I felt quite melancholy the rest of the ride home, brooding about the winter I am enduring, both physically and spiritually.
Then, Tuesday came. I know I should never be surprised by the wild swinging of Cleveland weather, but somehow I always am. Snowstorm on Saturday, 70 degrees and sunny and Tuesday, what a crazy area I live in! Anyways, I took FULL advantage of the nice weather that day. I greatly enjoy going for walks. I am not much of a runner. It is true I am not in great shape, but I also choose not to run because of my love for strolling along and taking in my surroundings. When I run, I don’t see the flowers, abandoned bird’s nests, frogs hopping into the water as I approach, or nuances in nature that herald the arrival of spring. My mind also is not as free to think when I run, so I choose to walk. As I was walking this day, I was deeply moved by the promise of spring. Whereas the winter seemed it would never end and my hope of enjoying the sun seemed impossibly foolish, here I was outside in April without a coat! The Lord used this to minister to more than my craving for sunshine. He skillfully used the promise of earthly spring to speak to the deeper places of my heart. Emotionally and spiritually, I still feel in the middle of a blizzard. Looking out from the windows of my soul I see only desolation and ice, no end to this winter of my life. I must remember, though, just last Saturday I thought there was no hope of change in the weather. I saw no sign around me that spring was near, yet it was only two days away! This gives me hope for the current winter in my heart. Right now, I see no signs that anything new is on the horizon. All I see is another storm I do not desire, nor am I prepared for. What an amazing thing I have in Christ, though. I have hope that God can and will surprise me. I have hope He has great things in store. I have hope that, even though I can’t even see a small glimpse of the sun at this moment, there is a springtime coming for my heart, and I will be able to enjoy every minute of it once it arrives. I have no idea when this winter will be over, but I know my Jesus will keep me warm until it ends, continually whispering in my ear His promises never to leave me or forsake me, and to complete the good work He began in me.
So, here I sit. The storm may be raging, but I can sit here with my Savior and enjoy the coziness of resting in Him as, together, we wait for spring.