Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring into Life

There’s something about springtyme that really makes me aware of change. As the dullness of winter fades away and the newness of life takes over, I see so many wondrous things occur. The world around me seems to brighten minute by minute as the vibrant colors of the season unfold. The willow trees start to green revealing their peaceful presence, when, for a season, they went unnoticed. The forsythia bushes begin to glow, some bright yellow, some golden, giving light to their existence when before they blended in with their surroundings. As the days go by the flowering cherry trees begin to shine with pink perfection and the white blooms of the budding pear trees add in pops of pureness against the unfurling landscape.

As the season matures, a plethora of other trees like maple, elm, birch and oak, begin blossom, offering brilliant shades of green and the mountains, once again, become a patchwork of splendor. Small signs of life break through the tones of the earth as if awakened by the warm temperatures and start to reach up toward Heaven, their leaves like outstretched arms offering praise to The Creator. For months the small bulbs lay dormant under the earth with no symbol life, but with a whisper from God, they return and bring forth a beautiful array of dazzling colors. The yellow of the daffodils, the pink and purple of the hyacinths and the rainbow of tulips, all rise to welcome the season, the season of change.

As much as I don’t like to admit it, I often view change as a negative aspect of life, at least when life is going well. I don’t want my day-to-day to be altered in any fashion in fear that it will spoil my manageable routine. In fact, even when things in my life are not going so well I fear change; after all, change has the potential to make things worse rather than better.

Is it normal to fear change? If you think about it, the unknown is a major component of change and the unknown can be rather terrifying. As a rule, most people fall into schedules and habits out of a need for control or rather the need to know. There’s something comforting in a job you’ve had for years, even if you’re not exactly fond of it. You know what to expect and you know what’s expected of you. In truth, a routine can alleviate a great deal of stress when it comes to life.

When we feel like we’re in control of our lives, or better yet, our destinies, it does a lot to dispel our fears. However, when we don’t know what to expect out of a situation or even worse, out of life, it can be a very disconcerting feeling. Sure, there are moments when we want to drive into the world with the throttle wide open, but all the sharp turns and hairpin curves along the road of life force us to slow down and exercise caution. Caution isn’t a bad thing, in fact, there’s a lot to be said for the sensible thinking that caution brings, the rub is when that caution breeds fear and brings us to a stop.

I have a tendency to let the fear of the unknown stop me. The “what ifs” and the “I don’t knows” that come with change have a way of paralyzing my ability to move on and to make my way through life. I don’t like this about myself and even though I know better, sometymes I can’t seem to get over my fears.

I think of all the great things throughout history that came about because someone or a group of people refused to let the fear of the unknown stop them. I think about everything from David fighting Goliath to Amerigo Vespucci’s explorations that led him to discover America, to George Washington and all the other American’s who stood up for freedom against unknown odds and obstacles. While I’m sure they had concerns and questions, they controlled their fear instead of letting their fear control them. It really bothers me that I cannot do the same thing, but then springtyme comes and I get an awesome reminder from God.

Change is an inevitable part of life, but God is the Giver and Controller of life. He is mindful of the seasons and brings about the beautiful changes we see unfolding around us as spring blossoms and He is just as mindful of us. He wants to see us blossom and change just like the springtyme, not to fear the world around us. Jesus understood the evils and fears of the world, but in John 10:10 He explained that He wants us to have a good, full life.

“The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and that they may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

If we’re struggling with change or fearing the unknown in our lives, we need to remember that God does not want us to fear, but rather to rely on Him for guidance and answers. God’s desire is for our happiness, not our fear. While we might face difficult tymes, we are never without the One Who is always by our side, Who holds our hand when we stumble and Who carries us when we cannot walk the uneven road.

So, the unknown, change, fear?

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” - Romans 8:31

God? In our corner? What a comforting thought and how wonderful of God to remind us of it regularly!

As the seasons change let’s remember that every blossom of spring, sun ray of summer, fallen leaf of autumn and snowflake of winter are just God’s reminders that He is in control and we have nothing to fear…not even fear itself.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of sound mind” – II Timothy 1:7


L.D. Kirklin