Lent, a season of waiting, lies nestled within the dawn of spring, season of hope. Could our spiritual lives possibly be more interwoven with the rhythms of Creation?
It seems every year since I have paid any ounce of attention to Lent, I find myself waiting for something during those sacred 40 days. Praying a promise would be fulfilled. Listening for an answer, yet suffering through silence. Rather than making Lent a time of frustration, this expected cycle has become a comfort as I relax into a rhythm that strengthens my hope, deepens my belief, and eventually leads to celebration, rejoicing, praise.
Easter. The most glorious fulfillment of promise. The answer to the world's darkest questions.
And Creation does not keep silent. She too celebrates with babes and blooms and colors everywhere. Just when we begin to doubt her hibernation will come to an end, Creation awakens and adorns herself in splendor. She births new life in honor of New Life.
Can you imagine being one of the many who thought their happily-ever-after had come in Jesus, only to watch him tortured and killed and put in a tomb? Doubt most certain. Doubt of the most gruesome kind. Yet this is the way of God: to rescue just before the curtain of despair closes. We as His people were born with a love for this drama that heightens the rescue to ecstasy. Deep down we understand that happily-ever-afters are not glory-full without those dark preceding moments that leave us holding our breath and entertaining doubt...sometimes even despair. We often wrestle with those dark times, and sometimes we try to run away from them. But deep down I think we know that night is what makes the morning light so beautiful.
Creation echoes this drama over and over--year after year. It is never exactly the same, but the storyline doesn't change: Our forbearance for winter wears off, our impatience for spring creeps up, and we begin to wonder if the color and warmth and life will ever resurrect. And then...what feels like a moment too late...it does!
But because she waited until we began to entertain such ideas, we feel spring's return fully. We experience the jubilation all the way down to our toes. Can you see it? Creation...us...the way of God...we reflect one another so beautifully. Through creation we can learn lessons over and over and over (as we need to), adding depth and detail to our understanding of God (and ourselves) each time.
Allow Lent and these brief moments where spring feels just out of grasp to strengthen your faith. Don't wish away the waiting. Tune your senses to the small things that promise it will all come in time: fulfillment of promise, answer to question, return of spring.
New Life is coming.