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TITLE: You Can Begin Again
By William Baldwin
04/11/06
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This is an article used in local newspapers in our area.
I have never heard anyone say, “I really hate springtime.” Well…okay, maybe those who suffer from allergies—but even they dislike the pollen, not the season. Flowers begin blooming; trees are budding; grass is growing; birds start singing. All of creation declares, “We’re alive again!”

It has been a long winter. Winter always seems long to me—too long—sometimes. But, winter is necessary. In the economy of our climate, winter kills last year’s growth, and makes way for something new. During winter, creation seems to lose its sparkle. A once luscious, green forest becomes a dismal gray. Most flowers die, while others crawl back under the soil to hide from the wintry elements. Color, for a season, vanishes, and it seems, so does all of life. To add to the drab surroundings, the song of nature is stilled as birds take their song to a warmer climate. Is it any wonder that a greater percentage of people suffer from depression during winter?

Like all creation, we, too, experience seasons in our life. Without exception, no one can live life without going through personal winters. Some of them are long, cold, drab, and colorless. Personal winters can be gray and dead. It is easy to lose your song during these days. Like the folks referred to in the Old Testament, we weep a lot, and set beside “the rivers of Babylon” thinking of the good ole days. Scripture says, they put away their musical instruments, “hanging them upon the branches of the willow trees” (see Ps 137:1-2).

Financial problems, depression, teenage rebellion, rejection, death of a loved one, abuse, sickness, marriage troubles, divorce, employment lay-offs, teenage drug problems, loneliness, failures—these, and many others, are the gray conditions of a personal winter. During winter, “something dies,” so to speak. I don’t like winter. But I recognize—it is necessary. Every life must pass through winter in order to enter spring. Winter always precedes spring. This is a spiritual truth that applies to everyone.

The cross is the Lord’s symbol that reminds us that Jesus experienced a personal winter, too. Like all winters, dying was part of it. First, His winter was in obedience to the Father, and then, for our salvation. The cross was ugly. The Lord’s death on the cross was even more repulsive. The only color that splashed across the backdrop of Jesus’ crucifixion was red—His blood. Other than that, like all winters, it was gray, bleak, and dismal. But—it was necessary for what was to come.

One would hardly recognize Jesus during His winter. Bruised, beaten and bloody, only the inward charm remained. His outer shell was not recognizable. Finally, winter took its toll and He died. I’m not surprised. Winter was only doing its job, as they buried Him in a rich man’s tomb.

The story goes that winter passed and springtime came. Like a tulip lying dormant under the soil, the earth gave way to a greater power and promise. What seemed to be gone forever burst forth from a wintry grave. Flowers bloomed (mostly lilies, I suppose), skies turned blue, warm days emerged, and birds sang, again. This time they sang a new song—“He has risen!”

With Jesus’ resurrection God declares that our personal winters are only for a season. Paul declares in Ephesians, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead” (1:18-20). Now, that is some serious power He has given us!

Easter is not only an event in Christian history—Easter is a person. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection” (John 11:25). Isn’t it strange that historians cannot pinpoint when Jesus was born, though we celebrate His birth in December. However, we are sure about the time of His resurrection—springtime, right after Passover. Springtime and resurrection go together, like (as Forrest Gump says) “Peas and carrots.” It’s the basic message of this season. When Jesus resurrected from His grave, He was declaring, “Your winters are limited!”

Your winters may be long and hard, but if you do not give up, they will come to an end. Jesus never interpreted His future glory by the dismal winter of the cross. Like daffodils that suddenly appear after a long cold season, the resurrection declares that our winter seasons are not the end of our story.

I love springtime, don’t you? It is saturated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is not just a good story—it is real life—a principle that God infused in the season itself. Now, when I see the flowers blooming, trees blossoming, and birds singing, I am reminded that winters, like the cross, do not last forever. Springtime is here. Jesus is alive! And, “YOU CAN BEGIN AGAIN!”
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