Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring is Coming

In 2008, Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman lost his youngest daughter, Maria Sue, when she was accidentally hit by a car driven by one of Chapman’s other children. On his 2009 album, “Beauty Will Rise,” Chapman writes about grief, about spring and about longing for the coming resurrection. He sings,

“We planted the seed while the tears of our grief soaked the ground
The sky lost its’ sun and the world lost its’ green to lifeless brown
Now the chill in the wind has turned the Earth hard as stone
And silent the seed lies beneath ice and snow
And my heart’s heavy now, but I’m not letting go
Of this hope I have that tells me

Spring is coming, Spring is coming
And all we’ve been hoping and longing for
Soon will appear
Spring is coming, Spring is coming
It won’t be long now
It’s just about here

Hear the birds start to sing
Feel the life in the breeze
Watch the ice melt away
The kids are coming out to play
Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground
There’s something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through

Repeat Chorus

Spring is coming (Out of these ashes beauty will rise)
Spring is coming (Sorrow will be turned to joy)
All we’ve been hoping and longing for (All we’ve hoped for)
Soon will appear (soon will appear)
Spring is coming (Out of the darkness beauty will shine)
Spring is coming (All Earth and Heaven rejoice)
It won’t be long now (Spring is coming soon)
It’s just about here (Spring is coming soon)”

These days, Heather and I are eagerly anticipating spring. It seems like it has been a particularly long and difficult winter. Heather is blessed to be a stay-at-home mother. Because of Owen’s sleeping schedule, it is particularly difficult for Heather to get too far from our home (and Owen’s crib). In order to combat cabin fever, in good weather she has enjoyed taking Micah, during his lifetime, and then Owen, to our little neighborhood park or around a favorite neighborhood walking route.

Unfortunately, the winter weather here in Minnesota has not cooperated with Heather’s attempts to combat cabin fever. We’ve had near-record snowfall, and the temperatures continue to be more typical of February than late March. While the days are getting significantly longer, and the sun is getting higher in the sky, there is still a chill in the air. The brisk winter wind still takes your breath away. The pile of snow in the yard is still fairly significant. There are no buds on the trees, and any grass that is visible is brown.

Just as Heather feels in bondage to the inside of our house, Minnesota seems in bondage to winter. In Romans 8:18-23, Paul talks about how even creation is in bondage to sin until Christ returns. Paul says,
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved.”

No doubt about it, we are looking forward to spring. Heather is looking forward to taking Owen to the park again. I’m looking forward to introducing Owen to baseball, the golf course, and walks with Heather around the lakes. But as much as we are looking forward to the change in the weather, our ultimate hope for redemption from our circumstances is in the coming second-coming of Jesus Christ, when He will redeem all suffering, and Jesus will resurrect our son from the dead.

Lord willing, we will someday experience springtime in Minnesota. As in Chapman’s song, we will soon start to feel the sun on our face, see children playing outside again, and the last vestiges of ice melting away. This year, when I see these signs of spring appearing, it will be a reminder to me that, like the coming spring and summer, the Day of our Lord is just about upon us.

At that day, the sound of our groans for redemption will be replaced by the trumpet call. The dank smell of death will be replaced by the smell of life. Our dark days of grief and lonesomeness for Micah will be lost in the illumined brightness of seeing Jesus face-to-face. The earth over the top of Micah’s grave will be removed, and I will no longer be limited to touching only his gravestone, but will touch him, his hair and his hands.

How excited are we for spring? Are we just as excited about the second-coming of Jesus? Just as expectant? Are you ready for that day? As excited as I am for ballgames, golf rounds, and strolls around the lake this summer, I have no doubt that the joy we experience this spring and summer will pale in comparison to our joy of finally seeing our Savior and our son once again.

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