Why should we be glad for something we have not yet seen?
Why should we cherish such fervent expectation? Who gave us such a notion?
But then, tragedy strikes. Spring herself has gone missing. At first, she was just delayed, and we could bear it. But then news leaks that she has been caught up in foreign affairs. And our hearts flutter with momentary fear. Winter can be dogmatic and unfeeling: marvellous to wrap it citizens in fluffy coats of white, but unpredictable—sometimes the covers smother and stifle us.
We rally, and bring out coloured garments, go shopping for something new and bright. Our hearts betray our bustle. We worry, we fear, we bicker. It’s taking too long. We take out mounting frustration in vigorous labour, increased entertainment, louder noise—dulling the gnawing ache.
Then we hear the news: Spring is further delayed at the embassy, perhaps even against her will, so the previous governor fills in till her arrival. He tries to be gentle and soft, but soft snow is wet snow, and we mutter choice complaints as we shuffle and slip along. We’re miffed.
But why? Why are we so disappointed by this withholding?
What were we expecting?
And then, the unexpected occurs. Our hearts begin melting. We didn’t even know they were frozen! Disappointment, anger, irritation, dissolve into streams of liquid grief. We see our stiffness, we feel our coldness, we struggle for air under the weight of our costumes.
And Winter thaws our hearts. We begin to see him, not as the enemy, but as a benefactor. In his exhausting reign, he revealed our impatience, our snootiness, our bigotry, and greed. We bow in shame and realized poverty; (and our hearts rise to face the dawning sun). We muscle slush, knowing we deserve nothing better; ( and our hands are strengthened ). We plod along; (and our legs grow stalwart).
And why? Why should we not mind the bitter blow?
Because we have seen the King. Because He has entered our sorrow and conquered our enemies. Being with Him dissipates our fear, dissolves our resignation, evaporates our gross rebellion.
Something stirs in our hearts, we feel the washing of a liquid stream. Could we be overcome by this wonder?
We look around, and gape in astonishment: when did blades of grass appear? When did tulips push through the mulch and snow?
We turn, dumbstruck, to the King. And He looks deep into us, through us, and smiles.
Then, He takes our hand, gently bracing our frame, and hums a love song. Before we know it, we discover that we’re dancing . . . with the King!
And that giggle behind our shoulder. It is Spring, waltzing with Winter.
And all at once we realize it: all our wishing and planning and groaning were not wasted. All our tears had a purpose, all our tripping and struggles are swept into a flurry of praise. This ball was not about us, not about Winter, nor Spring.
This is the King’s dance. And He makes all things—darkness and grief and sorrow and horror—to work together for His pleasure.
And we are His, in this dance of HOPE.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope . . . You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Ps. 16:11
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.”