One of the things that my wife Tammy enjoys about living in the Midwest is the opportunity to enjoy the four seasons. While I might prefer the climate of San Diego, she enjoys experiencing each of the four seasons, especially the new life of spring, and the beautiful colors of fall. Even in the days leading up to spring, we could already see the green of bulbs pushing up through the soil, perennials coming back to life, buds on our trees, and our grass turning green.
In a way, spring corresponds so much with Easter, as our creation seems to be resurrecting daily before our eyes. That gives me hope after a long and cold winter, which featured a major ice storm. In his new book Hope in Times of Fear, Tim Keller tells us that what Christianity offers a world that has lost hope is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which Christians celebrate on Easter, but which should be foremost in our thoughts each day.
In 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 it says, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
But if you keep reading the Apostle Paul says in the next verse, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20).
We can have hope in our suffering only if there is an afterlife—a place where all that is wrong with this world will be set right. It is certain that Christ has been raised from the dead. The Old Testament points to Him and the witnesses to His rising from the dead testify to the reliability and truth of His resurrection (vv. 3–8).
Spring brings hope for other reasons. First, despite the reports of “variants” of the COVID-19 virus, the number of new cases being reported each day are going down significantly. Second, the medical community is now using treatments that have significantly lowered the death rate for those who do contract the virus. And third, the COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widely available. I’m writing this on the morning on which I will receive my first (of two) vaccinations. And that gives me hope.
I realize that for a variety of reasons, not everyone will choose to get the vaccine, and that is a very personal decision. But it gives me hope that many family members and friends have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, with some now fully vaccinated.
The pandemic has resulted in many changes for all of us. Some of us have lost friends and family members. Some are still working from home and some students have had to learn at home for many months. While I’m thankful for Zoom and online church services, I’m ready to get back to what is sure to be a “new normal”. Due to our age and underlying conditions, Tammy and I have been very careful over the past year. These are a few of the things that I am hopeful of in the coming weeks:
- Getting together with family and extended family members
- Going back to church to worship in person
- Meeting with our church small group in person
- Eating in restaurants
- Going to sporting events
- Going to concerts
- Attending conferences
- Watching movies in theatres
- Getting my haircut in a hair salon
- Meeting with friends for our Book Club in person
- Having mentoring/discipling meetings in person
These are just a few of the things I am looking forward to with hope. This spring will be a time of hope. What are you hoping for this season?
He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!