As I sit to write this morning the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the temperature is just about perfect. It's such a beautiful day it's hard to imagine what last week was like - brutal sub-freezing temperatures at night, ice and snow breaking trees and taking out power lines leaving countless people shivering in the dark. It's been a test of perseverance for all of us. And now we have this harbinger of spring to tantalize us.
We know winter is not done with us yet, but days like today renew hope that the cold gray of winter will soon yield to a riot of color and soft warmth that spring will eventually bring.
Life itself is like the seasons, isn't it? Each of us at times goes through those dark, cold spells that seem never to end. Misery and sadness fill our days and we wonder if happy times will ever return to mark our journey with warmth and sunshine.
Jesus never promised his followers a carefree pilgrimage through this world. In fact, he warned us of just the opposite. The present age is dangerous for people in every way, especially if you are a follower of Christ. The Apostle Paul once told some new believers that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
This doesn't mean your life as a follower of Jesus will always be filled with suffering and misery. There will often be joyful times as you travel toward the Celestial City. But there will be times also when your faith is tested to its limit and you will struggle to persevere. You are not, however, and never will be, all alone in the dark. David reminds us, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me." Child of God, your Father knows just where you are and he is with you every step of the way, even if you can't feel his presence in your moment of darkness.
Our journey through this wilderness of a world is extremely brief. One day it will come to its conclusion and we will pass into our eternal home where we will be reunited with friends and loved ones in Christ who have gone before us. Perhaps they will take us on a tour of that great city of our King and we finally will gaze upon him whom, having not seen, we love. We will behold wonders that will leave us astounded and begin the great adventure that never ends. There will be feasting and celebration and story-telling galore as we make new friends and meet heroes of the faith whom we know now only from the pages of Scripture. Our Father will have things for us to do in his service and none of our work or activities will ever become boring or routine. What a grand life it will be! This, and much more, is our hope and confidence.
Is this your hope as well? I pray it is. If not, or if you're not sure, I implore you to come to Jesus and give yourself to him who died so you may live. He will never turn you away. Ever. Don't put it off. Come today. You will forever be glad you did.