We eagerly watch calendars and flower beds for spring’s arrival. We want to believe that nature’s manifestation of new life promises our renewal, too. That hearts weary from cold, painful struggles will be healed with a change of season.
But, writes Jon Bloom, “the normal Christian life is embattled. It’s full of strange and difficult conflicts with sin and weakness within, and strange and difficult conflicts with spiritual and human adversaries and a world subjected to futility and frail brokenness without.”
In other words, much as we wish otherwise, one square on the calendar won’t make everything better. Jesus says that we will have heartache in this broken world. But He also says we can be hopeful because He has overcome the darkness (John 16:33).
The question is how can we nurture the hope of springtime for our souls when winter feels unending?
How to nurture hope
- Understand biblical hope. Hope doesn’t mean living with fingers crossed. It doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of our embattled lives. Instead, it means confidence in a good future, “the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11). Rather than expecting everything to be fixed in this lifetime, we anticipate “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
- Make hope active. Hope isn’t just a noun. It’s also a verb. It is living. By God’s “great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:3). So think about goodness and ask God to renew your joy. Pray, read your Bible, and journal how God reveals His presence and care. Connect with people who speak hope and truth.
- Consider that dormancy has a purpose. Many plants go dormant when hit with weather extremes. They’re not dead, of course; they’re conserving energy until better conditions return. In the same way, our personal dormant seasons can draw us closer to the Lord as we rely on His timing and wisdom to navigate difficult circumstances. “Our task isn’t to decipher exactly how all of life’s pieces fit and what they all mean, but to remain faithful and obedient to the God who knows all mysteries,” says Nancy Guthrie.
Remember our ultimate hope
Nature has a rhythm: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). Similarly, our lives will cycle through seasons of storm and calm, sorrow and comfort, torment and relief, sunrise and sunset.
However, one thing never changes Jesus. He’s He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As we train our hearts to echo the hope of springtime renewal, we cling to our unchanging Lord — our ultimate, eternal hope.
Need encouragement to endure? Learn from others who speak the truth about hope. Read The Case for Hope and Holding on to Hope, and listen to Focus on the Family’s broadcast “Discovering God in the Midst of Pain and Suffering.”