Posted: 2/28/20 at 3:00pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
Late winter is always a difficult time of the year. The dismal gray skies, the inclement weather, and the fog and mist dampen the environment and also dampen our mood and spirits. By this time of year almost everyone is ready to start singing “Here Comes the Sun,” ready to feel the sun’s warmth and to embrace the promise of new, hopeful days of new life.
With the early signs of spring comes a change in the wildlife. Varieties of birds reappear in preparation for better days ahead. The swans stop off in the waters just off our island, turning themselves upside down to eat the food under the shallow waters. Cardinals reemerge, and squirrels leave their nests to forage through the pecans lying on the ground.
Most of us as humans have gone through changes during the winter as well, as we hunkered down to survive winter’s cold. We’re also ready for a change—ready to get up off the couch and check out the new life outside our doors. It is time to prune the vines, prep the flower beds, and clear the ground in preparation for the life and growth of spring.
With the morning of a new day on the horizon, it is time to take a deep breath, inhale anew the life-giving presence of God’s Holy Spirit, and reenergize ourselves for the exciting, life-filled days ahead. Morning is a time to lift up our heads, to look outward instead of inward, and to make preparations for the months of activity ahead.
In Psalm 30, a psalm of King David, we read about a similar scenario in David’s life. In verses 5 and 11 of Psalm 30 (CSB) we read: “For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.” “You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” Winter’s blast dulls us for a while, but God’s favor and grace brings new hope and new days after winter’s dreariness.
David depicts a time of illness, so severe that he thought he was going to die. He prayed, asking for God to deliver him from physical death. God healed him and changed his life from the gloom of mourning to the glowing dawn of a new morning; God changed his sense of doom to an attitude of renewed life and hope. The darkness was now fleeing as the promise of God’s new day showed its first darkness-scattering light. The fear of a slide into death was replaced with rising up to enjoy life in the land of the living once again.
For all these things, the Psalmist gave thanks and then shared with the congregation what had happened in his life, encouraging them to turn to God for a new life and a fresh start; to turn to God for the joy that inevitably comes with the singing birds of dawn.
Are you in a deep slide into realms of gloom and darkness? Are you facing a dampening situation physically, emotionally, or spiritually that seems insurmountable? Perhaps you have been diagnosed with a medical predicament that has knocked the wind from your sails. Or maybe your perfect job has suddenly turned bad, and you are experiencing joyless drudgery, waiting for each day’s misery to end. Perhaps you are aging and desiring to retire but have no financial way to do it.
Maybe your gloom is one in the spiritual realm, where you have lost your joy and excitement for following God, and you feel like your faith is as refreshing as a haggis cooked in dende oil. (Dende oil is a cooking oil from Brazil, which is listed as one of the ten worst-tasting things to eat.)
So if your faith has turned bitter, you may need to turn around and ask God to pull you out of the pit you have slid into. Ask Jesus to lift your eyes to see the light of a new day on the horizon and put the song of a new life into your heart.
Life’s gloomy winters soon give way to hope-filled mornings. Look up to God and call out to Jesus; it is almost morning!