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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…    – 1 Peter 1:3-4

You’ve heard it said that to everything there is a season. That saying comes from Ecclesiastes Ch 3.  Seasons were promised by God in Genesis 1:14.

We have Calendar Seasons:

  • Spring – new life
  • Summer – warmth, long days
  • Fall – changing colors, waning days, cooler temps
  • Winter – cold, bleak, longer nights, end of year

We have Seasons of Life:

  • Spring – birth and young life (babies, children, teens, youth)
  • Summer – prime of life
  • Fall – physical changes, slowing of life,
  • Winter – final stages of life, death

In the Seasons of Life, winter is associated with death, but is winter really about death?  Winter is actually a season of preparation for the spring to come!  During winter the landscape might look stark and bare, but underneath the ground, trees and shrubs are growing stronger by extending and deepening their roots.  Seeds and bulbs are establishing themselves by sprouting new roots down in the soil.  When spring arrives, sprouts will push up through the ground, and soon the new plants will bud and bloom.  Winter is also the season with longer nights that gives people and animals time for rest.  In God’s created world, winter is not a time of death, but a time when God is at work in ways we can’t see to make His creations stronger and prepare for new life.

The picture on my calendar is the perfect metaphor for winter.   It is a cheerful image of colorful wildflowers with butterflies flitting around against a beautiful blue sky.  There’s a quote that says: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”   (2017 Lang Calendar, artwork by Debi Hrom)

Yeah, just when winter looks like things are dead and dying, spring comes again and the world bursts forth with new life!

That’s how it is in this season of the church.  Christians are in the Easter season, the time when we celebrate Jesus as our resurrected Lord, Whose death was the payment for our sins, that we could not only be forgiven of our sins, but also given new life here on earth and life everlasting for those who confess Jesus to be their Savior and Lord.  Jesus offers us a new season, the Season of Hope, taking us from a season of darkness to that of new life!

Those who followed Jesus back in the day were given hope – hope for healing, ending oppression, being cured, and most importantly, being saved.  Crowds came by the thousands to hear Jesus teach the scriptures, and to seek His miracles.  Then came a dark day, when Jesus was crucified as a criminal – an innocent Lamb led to slaughter. He was hung on the cross and died.  Scriptures tell us the mid-day sky became dark, and the earth shook.  How terrifying that must have been, and how tragic for all whose hopes died with Jesus  on that cross.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

That wasn’t the end of the story, though!  No, the best part of the story was just beginning!  Jesus arose from His grave, fulfilling scriptures and the promises He made to the disciples, and ushered in a new Season of Hope for all who follow Him!

The caterpillar and butterfly are often used to symbolize the life of Jesus.  The caterpillar represents Jesus’ life and ministry, the cocoon represents the three days He was in the tomb, and the butterfly symbolizes Jesus as the resurrected Christ.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

Just when the “Christ Ones” thought all hope was lost, Hope was born anew through Jesus!

In the verse above, Peter is speaking to the early Christians, reminding them that Jesus’ resurrection is a gift from God the Father to give us the opportunity to be born again!  To be forgiven,  freed.  Peter is telling them, and us, that we can be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of  Jesus. (1 Peter 1:3).  Jesus gives us the Season of Hope.

Peter goes on to tell the early Christians that they will be tested in their faith, that times of trials will come, but that the genuineness of their faith is more valuable than gold – that even though gold is tested by fire, can perish – but our faith will not let us perish, but bring us to rejoice with inexpressible joy, through the revelation of Jesus the Christ, which will give us salvation for our souls.  (1 Peter 1:5-9 paraphrased)

As word spread about the Risen Jesus, Christ followers rejoiced, became stronger in faith, and grew in number.  Then a great persecution began.  It felt like their world was over, so Peter reminded them that just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.  Christians always have the promise of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus the Christ.  It is Jesus that gives us a Season of Hope.

Sometimes the Seasons of our lives are marked by the stages of our lives.  When things are going well and we feel good, we are in the Spring and Summer seasons; but when trials and challenges come, when we are suffering, feel hopeless or oppressed, we are in the Fall and Winter of our lives.  From what we see around us, the winter season can seem cold, dark and bleak, but remember that God is at work in the winter season in ways we cannot see to strengthen us, help our roots of faith grow deeper and prepare us for the Spring to come, beckoning us to the Season of Hope.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

The Season of Hope isn’t a limited to just a few weeks every year.  It is available all year long, 24/7/365.

My prayer for you is adapted from 1 Peter 1:1-2

To followers of Jesus the Christ, wherever you may be, and in whatever situations you might face, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:  May grace and peace be multiplied to you.    Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After visiting a friend, I was trying to find my way out of a large hospital, from the top floor to the main entrance.  The first elevator only took me part way.  A hospital employee directed me to another set of elevators.  As I walked, I overheard a man, clearly agitated, also ask for directions.  I told him to come with me, we’d find our way together.
He was an older man with a long, unkept beard.  He wore old clothes – a baggy fleece jacket, flannel shirt, t-shirt, jeans and old shoes.  He was carrying a white plastic bag with items inside.  Yes, he was definitely agitated, his eyes darting around and his brows drawn tightly down.
I said something to make small talk while we waited for the next elevator.  His darting eyes then focused on me, and looking me straight in the eyes, he told me he just lost his son.  “Oh, sir, I’m so sorry,” I said as I put my hand on his arm.  He went on to say that “it happened on Thursday and they pulled the plug today.”
By this time a few other people were waiting with us.  I shared that the man had just lost his son.  Another man offered condolences and asked how the son died.  Attempted suicide.
Then the father’s agitation turned to anger and he told us that no one had come to see his son.  Only his sister and her family had come to Charlotte to be with them.  Then he pointed upward and said at least now I know my son is ok and he’ll be up there.
“I’m glad you had time with him,” I said. Yes, he replied, still angry, but the others didn’t come, and in his anger he vowed to “take care of them” next time he sees them.
“Oh, sir,” I said, “I hope you’ll give these things to God.  Please give your anger and grief to Him.”  At that time the elevator arrived and our small group entered.  The others kept their distance, but my heart went out to this hurting man.
I asked if the bag held his son’s belongings.  “No. These things are for me.  I live on the streets.  My sister brought me a fresh change of clothes.”
(Grieving and homeless?  Could his situation be any worse?)
Just then the elevator door opened.  We were finally on the ground floor.  I silently prayed asking God what I could do, should do for this man – buy him food, offer money?  The man hurried off the elevator and got ahead of me.  His sister was waiting for him, so I went on, saying silent prayers for him as I exited the hospital.
Tonight there is a homeless man on the streets, carrying a bag of clothes and a heart full of grief after losing his 31-year old son, whose death he witnessed when life support ended.  I pray he’s in a shelter with people to help him through this difficult time.

My problems seem so small.

All I could do was pray, but I trust God will make good on my prayers.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  – Matthew 5:4

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