The Union Recorder

March 6, 2013

COLUMN: The hope of spring is near

The Union-Recorder


The weather in February was like what I usually experience in January. It was cold (yes, we really are in the middle of winter) and cloudy a lot. As I recall Februaries past, there is usually about 10 days in the middle of the month when it warms up, the sun shines, and we are reminded that spring is on the way. It is true that this past winter has been somewhat mild, but there was not really the warm stretch in February. March has started off cold and windy.

I had a conversation with someone not long ago who told me that he was in a season in his life that just felt like winter. Things were not going well at work and because of that there was conflict at home. His children were moving into adolescence and they had other interests than being with family. His description was like wintertime in his life.

I have an idea you have known times like that, when it felt like the warmth of love from friends and family had simply gone away, the clouds in your sky were gray and dark, and you just wished there could be some hint of new life for you. I know I have known those times.

If you ask why we experience times like that, I could not give you a very good answer. Sometimes we bring them on ourselves. Sometimes when crisis comes we unintentionally shut others out of our lives because we feel overwhelmed by all that is going on. Sometimes we do not feel in control of what is happening around us and we become angry at the world; and people really do not like being around angry folk. The world grows cold and dark.

The thing I do know is that all of us experience these times. When you read the Bible you can hear stories of people who knew just what these times were like. I think of Jacob who fled from home after his brother Esau threatened to kill him. He was on the way to his uncle's home, but he was alone and at that time, he had to feel unloved by everyone. It was that night when he lay down to sleep that he had a dream of a ladder reaching into heaven, and angels were going up and down the ladder. He knew that, if no one else was on his side, God was with him.

I think of King David who, after the prophet Nathan came to accuse him of his sin with Bathsheba, felt alone in his guilt. He knew he had done several terrible wrongs, and he had to have questioned his fitness to be the priest/king of his people. Out of that darkness in his life we have one of the most beautiful Psalms, Psalm 51, which speaks of deep repentance.

Even Jesus knew what it was like to be alone. On the cross he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” But God was close by, and out of that suffering we have our eternal salvation.

What I want to say is that we all know times of darkness and aloneness. But in that dreary time, God is nearby, and spring is on the way.

Dr. Jay Hodges may be reached at