There Will Be Spring, and You Will See It

One day, a blind man was sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read: “I am blind, please help.” A creative publicist was walking by and stopped to observe. He saw that the man had only a few coins in his hat. He asked permission to rewrite something on the sign. Later that afternoon, the publicist returned and noticed his hat was full of bills and coins. When asked by the blind man what he had written, the publicist responded: “Nothing that was not true. I just wrote the message a little differently.” He smiled and went on his way. The new sign read: “Today is Spring, and I cannot see it.”

I recently came across that devotion from an author whose name escapes me. It’s one of the many entries that make up a “Sermon Illustrations” file I’ve collected since seminary. The file contains 64,297 words worth of devotions, analogies, quotes, and interesting observations from other Christians. Of those 64,297 words, few pull my heartstrings more than that story of the blind man, especially in the month of April. Not that I could ever relate to anyone who’s lost their eyesight. In no way, shape, or form would I suggest otherwise. However, in a purely emotional sense, many people reading this, myself included, know what it’s like to miss the sheer beauty of a gorgeous day due to the bleak days of depression. For many people who’ve suffered from depression, Spring is the most brutal season, not Christmas. When it’s sunny outside, you’re supposed to be happy. So when you aren’t, it’s incredibly challenging.  

By the end of this blog, I’ll get to the bright news, I promise, providing hope and encouragement to those facing a rough patch. I’ll refer to that concluding portion as There Will Be Spring and You Will See It. But first, to provide context, I’ll share my own story in two parts: Today is Spring, and I Cannot See It, and Today is Spring, and I Can See It. Enjoy!

Today is Spring, and I Cannot See It

In 2007, the Church I had planted six years earlier in Pensacola, Florida, began to implode. The dreams and aspirations of what Christ Community Church might become one day become never seemed to materialize. Although the congregation was full of amazing people who adored Jesus, my skillset was no match to be their senior pastor. My sense of purpose had become so intertwined with the Church that the two had grown inseparable. Therefore, when attendance plummeted, my spirits followed suit. I fully realized the Church belonged to Jesus, all ministers get that theologically, but the numbers do matter; they affect us horribly, even though they shouldn’t. Anyone claiming otherwise is not being sincere.

For six seemingly unending years, I anguished through my soul’s longest, dark winter. My depression was the bad kind; you might say unimaginable. Unlike when someone casually asserts, “I’m depressed because it’s cloudy outside,” my bout more closely resembled Paul, who “despaired even of life itself.” I believe that’s what allows Paul’s New Testament letters, thirteen in all, to speak so pointedly to the shadowy recesses of the Christian’s soul:

Therefore, we do not lose heart; though our outer person is decaying, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. – 2 Cor. 4:16-17

Or the time Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 1:5:

For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

We can all be thankful that God doesn’t sanitize characters in the Bible. They, like Paul, suffered severely, thereby allowing us to relate.

Today is Spring, and I Can See It

Springtime is never more enthralling than following a brutal, harsh winter. If my inner turmoil as a church planter could be called a “harsh winter,” that would explain why I’ve been refreshed by Spring ever since. Not that life has been free from everyday troubles, cares, and concerns. But perceptions have changed. Believe me, to see the beauty of a gorgeous day and genuinely enjoy it at the same time will never be taken for granted again. “He has made everything beautiful in its time!” Ecc. 3:11

Albert Einstein observed, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” I would add, “Adversity introduces a man to his Redeemer.” As a result of trials, believers are driven ever so deep into the proximity of their Savior. Not that harsh winters couldn’t come again. They certainly can, as seasons do change. But if so, it’ll be ok. Because ultimately, difficulties press us towards a more intimate fellowship with Him: “That I may know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Phil. 3:10

You may have heard it said, “Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns.” I was among the former for most of my life: complaining such over thorns I overlooked the roses. Not so now. Today is Spring, and I’m delighted to see it.

There Will Be Spring, and You Will See It

For any of you this April hanging on for dear life, I’ll leave you with some bright news as promised:

# 1 – You’re not damaged goods, far from it. God’s strength is “perfected in our weakness.” That means He can use you to draw others who are hurting to Himself, not despite your struggles, but because of them. And I trust that He will.

# 2 – This Psalm breathes life: “Though weeping may last through the night, a shout of joy comes in the morning!” I would suggest memorizing Psalm 30:5. Songbirds, don’t forget, start singing while it’s dark. They anticipate the sun’s rise far in advance. As author Philip Yancey noted, “Faith sees even the darkest deed of all history, the death of God’s Son, as a necessary prelude to the brightest.”

# 3 – This Psalm holds out victory: “You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, and will bring me up from the depths of the earth.” Please take a moment to meditate on Psalm 71:20 even now.

# 4 – Bad weather never lasts forever. A Scottish minister, Alexander Whyte, was able to look at the bleakest situation and yet find something to be thankful for. On one dark Sunday morning when the weather was freezing, wet, and stormy, one of his deacons whispered, “I am sure the preacher won’t be able to thank God for anything on a day like this. It’s absolutely horrible outside!” The pastor began the service by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that the weather is not always like this.”

So hang on because you’re not the only one! There are plenty of us out here cheering you along the way. Even if you cannot believe it, allow us to believe it for you. “There Will Be Spring, and You Will See It!”

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *