We officially leapt into spring on March 20. My daughters and I were so excited that we ran out to take our first whiff of spring air at the exact moment the season arrived in our time zone.
Less than 48 hours later, a blizzard whirled around us and eventually dumped nearly 18 inches of wet, heavy snow upon us. Having lived here all my life, an early spring storm didn’t surprise me – but even the local meteorologists marveled at the snow total, which more than doubled their predictions. To make matters worse, my husband was away on a missions trip so I faced the prospect of digging out on my own. The thought of that made me want to curl up and pull my blankets over my head.
We can very easily face similar situations in our spiritual lives. Through circumstances or devotional times, the Lord convicts me a need for change in a specific area…I hear a powerful sermon and vow to turn over a new leaf…a friend calls me to account, and I acknowledge my need for a new direction. And I get as excited for transformation as my girls and I were for spring during that moment on the porch.
But then, though it’s really still spring, the blizzard comes. Unrelated stresses overwhelm. Unexpected roadblocks spring up. I buy into the myth that my desire to change means it’ll be instant – and falter when I realize temptations still taunt. And before I know it, I’m feeling buried in a blizzard of hopelessness.
Shortly after I’d trudged out to start shoveling the first half of the blizzard, my neighbor’s son appeared in his driveway, pushing the family’s snow blower. He saw me, shut off his machine, and ran over. “Do you need to get out right away?” he asked. “I can blow you out now. Otherwise, I’m going around and I’ll get to you in a bit.”
This family comes to our rescue after almost every snowfall. In fact, they appear to view helping the neighbors as a ministry. So I wasn’t shocked. But I’d convinced myself I couldn’t rely on their generosity – that I’d have to prepare to do the work myself. So the offer was a gift.
In fact, knowing I’d have help reinvigorated me and enabled me to persevere in clearing my porch and part of the driveway in order to make my neighbor’s work easier. And my mood changed, too; I felt energized, not overwrought. The whole job still took time – and we had to shovel and plow out again later – but it became manageable.
So, too, we must persevere when a “spiritual spring” meets with a snowstorm. If we keep “shoveling” despite our feelings, and if we accept – and even seek – help, the squall will pass, the drifts will melt, and we’ll radiate joy when we realize we got through it and can see the Son shining again.