Over the last few months, the dark of winter has really hit home. The death of a number of people connected with the church, our family, as well as the restrictions applied to the nation have left me and I am sure others, longing to move on from this period. We have felt grief, loss, anger, frustration and disappointment at a number of things over the winter period.
As a church, through lent, we have been looking at the topic of the disappointment and frustration that is “unanswered prayer” looking at people going through their darkest ‘winters’ and how in the midst of their struggles and grief, hope creeps in and surprises them.
Hope is a strange thing, it does not undo the feelings of hurt or loss, instead it hints at something new, something better that is worth going on for.
I think of the first Easter as the disciples gathered following the events of Good Friday. They would have been in their own personal ‘winter’ of loss, disillusionment and disappointment. They would have been questioning everything they knew and had heard. Yet hope creeps in and surprises them. For the women going to the tomb, that hope, was in the empty tomb and the words of a ‘Gardener’, for others, that hope was in hearing the news, for others in seeing and for Thomas in touching, the wounds of Jesus.
In nature, this hope at the end of winter is expressed as the first snowdrops, buds bursting in colour returning to the landscape. In these COVID times hope is signalled by vaccination rates, being able to meet others and the cautious reopening of shops and other facilities.
For Christians today, the hope is in experiencing God in our daily lives even in the disappointments and unanswered prayers. God invites all of us to know him and to be surprised by the hope that brings.
Whatever your situation I pray that this Easter time, that you are surprised by hope breaking into your situation and that you see a way from winter into the new beginnings of spring and beyond. – Amen