Springtime in Central Arkansas is beautiful. From my 6th floor office the whole span of West Little Rock, all the way across the river to Pinnacle Mountain, is a blanket of green, sprinkled with the white blooms of Bradford Pears and the occasional splash of pink and purple. April and I met for lunch today (to celebrate her birthday – happy birthday, honey!), and afterward both took a moment to savor stroll to the car in the just-hot-enough, early afternoon sun.
Summer here, on the other hand, is brutal. In a few weeks’ time Arkansas will curse this whole region and its oppressive, humid heat. The green grass will turn brown and the sidewalks – currently lined with daffodils and tulips – will be so hot as to scald bare feet. As surely as I know this will happen – because it does every year – I know, too, that every joy and exciting season of life will inevitably be followed by tedium, confusion, frustration, or loneliness.
Stick with me, here – I’d hate for you to check out now on such a bummer of a note. Because this is a really a message of inspiration.
In the third chapter of Hebrews, the book’s author warns against the spiritual doldrums that eventually but inevitably follow moments of excitement. He encourages believers to affirm and encourage one another so they won’t be led to “fall away” from God. Note that this is a letter to believers: people who know Christ and live for him. Even (especially) they are vulnerable to lies, temptation, and exhaustion.
We’d do well to remember this lesson today. We’re conditioned by our culture (at least here in America) to expect immediate and lasting gratification. Advertisers tell us every next purchase will be the last we ever need to make. We’ll be safe, free, and fulfilled if we’ll just place our trust in their products. It’ll be everlasting early Spring. God never promised that, though.
What God didpromise was that our trials would be worth it. Hebrews 3 says we’ll be as Christ’s house (protected and cared for, in other words) and that we’ll “come to share in Christ” (Hebrews 3;14). All we have to do, Scripture says, is “hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (3:6) and “hold our original confidence firm to the end” (3:14).
Now, while it’s cool, prepare yourself for Summer. When the heat arrives, take comfort in the shelter God’s provided. The faithful will find an eternal springtime as their reward.