It has been a rough winter. It started early and just didn't seem to want to let go. I have driven through more snow and ice this winter than I have in the last six winters combined. As I write this (mid-March), winter is still hanging on with possible snow and high winds predicted for earlier today. I would be a rich lady if I had a dime each time someone has said to me, "I'm tired of winter." It has been an especially rough winter.
I suppose that is why I took extra notice a couple of days ago that crocuses are blooming in front of the church, and daffodils and tulip greens are bravely poking out of the ground. It's been a rough winter, but spring is still coming. For no matter how rough the winter may be, it cannot stop the spring.
I believe all of us have times in our lives which feel like rough winters. Each of us experiences seasons when everything goes wrong. Certainly we feel this in a season after losing a loved one to death, but we also feel it in a season of illness, or personal difficulties. We look out the windows of our lives and only see winter that just won't go away.
Even so, what is true in nature is true in our lives. Winter cannot keep spring from coming. I look back at winter periods in my own life - periods when it felt like there would never be spring again. These were times when I couldn't see how it was possible for things to change for the better. I remember thinking that it would never be spring in my life again. Yet, here is God's promise. "Behold, I make all things new."
This is what Resurrection is all about: new life out of what seemed to only be death, and new springs when there only seemed to be winter. When God raised Jesus from the tomb, God said, "Death, not even death, has the final word." No matter how rough the winter of our lives, it cannot stop God's spring from coming.
One caution though. Though winter cannot keep spring from coming, we can choose to close our eyes to spring when it comes. We can close the shades of our windows saying it will always be winter, and never see the spring when it comes. We can become prisoners in our homes as we try to avoid the winter outside, and completely miss the signs of spring. Likewise, we can close the curtains of our soul believing that the winter we are experiencing will be endless, so we miss the crocuses God plants in our lives. Spring comes, but we refuse to see it.
This is where our faith and hope come in. As we believe in the Resurrection, as we believe that no winter no matter how intense can keep the spring from coming, we will have eyes to look for God's spring and to see it when it comes. It is my prayer that you will have eyes to see every spring of your life, no matter how rough the winter has been.
Pastor Diann O'Bryant is the minister of Gilman United Methodist Church, 312 Gilman St., Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.