While DEEPLY immersed in the barren gray landscape of winter, it's hard to imagine the beauty prepared to burst forth that lies just beneath the surface. Let the sun shine awhile, let the temperature start to rise, and suddenly the whole scene changes. That which was dull and lifeless is suddenly colorful and lush. In the language of the Bible, "Behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17).
For me spring brings a reassurance that is even more infinite in its beauty and scope than the most glorious spring day - the promise of God's ever-present love, ever active to renew and reinvigorate our lives.
At times our lives can feel like a winter day, dark and gray, with nothing hopeful evident. I found myself in a situation like this several years ago, and I was grateful to discover, even at such a time, God's love had already provided for a wonderful renewal.
The relationship between my husband and me was falling apart. We had two small children. I worked from the home and cared for them. My husband worked long hours to meet the expenses of the family. He had also gone back to school to complete a master's degree, so he wasn't around much, and when he was at home, we were both under so much stress that we argued frequently.
Meanwhile, I had been studying a book on spiritual healing, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, which talks about the action of God's love as the presence of angels. She described angels as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality" (page 581). She also explained, "These angels deliver us from the depths" (page 567).
One evening my husband and I had yet another argument. Our words had been hurtful, the conflict not resolvable. I felt there was no more hope of going forward together. Then suddenly, as I came near the sofa, it was as if a large, gentle hand insisted that I sit down and be quiet. I was alone in the room, but the thought was so powerful that I had no choice but to obey. Then another command came into my thought in the same authoritative way - Be grateful!
Immediately my thought was full of things about my husband that I was truly grateful for. After only a few minutes, I realized my thought had changed radically. Filled with gratitude for this hard-working, good man, I felt my anger completely dissolve. It was clear to me how blessed I was to have this man as my partner.
A more mature and enduring kind of love had burst into bloom in my thought. The self-centered ingratitude that had dominated my thoughts and darkened my point of view had been uncovered and quickly destroyed. I can't say that we never argued after that point, but our life together was never again gray and barren.
I felt "delivered by angels." To my surprise I didn't have to wait for anyone else to change to resolve this problem. The only thing that really needed changing was my own thought. Thankfully, the ever-active love of God changed my thought, and with this, a profound and lasting change took place in my life. Our renewed love has continued to bloom throughout the years. We'll be celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary next month.
In the Bible translation called "The Message," I found a good description of my experience and of God's promise of renewal that is always active. The 23rd Psalm describes God's loving care for us in this way, "True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction."
God's healing love reaches our thought and brings about the needed change. We can be sure we will be renewed by this love even when our days have become dark and barren.
Create in me a clean heart,
O God; and renew
a right spirit within me.