“Behold, the winter has passed, the rain has passed and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come; and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree spices her unripe figs, and the blossoms on the vines give forth a fragrance.” (Song of Solomon 2:11,12, Lit.)
Yes, spring is here! At least by the calendar. We still have some snow around, and the March winds can be blustery and cool. But, faith and experience tell us that the winter is past, and in just a very short time the trees will be budded, the forest will begin to look green, and the tulips and daffodils will sport their bright colors. (Yes, I know, they already are where some of you live…:) )
The coming of spring always reminds me of God’s covenant: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22)
I have often thought of the duality that God, in His wisdom, has seen fit to build into nature, and the human experience. We see the positive and the negative in so many areas: besides the ones already mentioned, light and dark, sun and cloud, work and rest; prosperity and adversity, joy and sorrow… The list is endless, and each one is necessary to the other. How can we harvest without planting? How can we appreciate the day without the night? Summer without winter? Life would be tedious if it were always the same. The positive aspect is always more appreciated and utilized after experiencing the negative.
In his letter to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul lists more contrasts: death and life, the outward man and the inward man, the temporary and the eternal, the afflictions and the glory, things seen and things not seen. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17) “A moment” – compared to “eternity”?! Our “light afflictions” – compared to the “far more exceeding weight of glory”?!
A word-for-word Greek interlinear gives this: “For the present lightness of the affliction works for us EXCESSIVELY TO EXCESS an eternal weight of glory, while we do not consider the things being seen, but the things not being seen; for the things being seen are TEMPORARY, but the things not being seen are ETERNAL.”
The temporary troubles we experience now are gaining for us a permanent, glorious and weighty reward out of all proportion to our pain. Our troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. Jesus Himself promised: “You now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one can take from you.” (John 16:22)
Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after suffering, crown after cross.
Sweet after bitter, song after sigh,
Home after wandering, praise after cry.
Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain.
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.
Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb.
After long agony, rapture of bliss!
Right was the pathway leading to this!
Author Unknown – Poems of Dawn (c) 1912
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18) “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who HOPE in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)
“Now the God of HOPE fill you with all Joy and Peace in the believing, that you may abound in HOPE, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
In Agape, Eulene