April showers bring May flowers. Or, if you like, more showers. And then the flowers, eventually, sometime down the road. This is Cape Cod, after all.
But it is a glorious time nonetheless. After the “seasonal clarity” of this past winter, the fairly sudden changes of temperatures, fairer skies, and the slow but inexorable greening of the grass remind us not only of the power of nature’s rebirth, but the design of its Creator.
For Christians, spring is, of course, a visual and symbolic reminder of the power of the Cross, of the Resurrection. When all seems lost, when lifelessness seems to have had the final word, God bursts forth with unforeseen glory.
Time and again, perhaps especially in the Old Testament, you will find examples in scripture of situations that on the surface appear utterly hopeless, impossible. Humanly impossible, that is. It is then that God acts, bringing new life out of life’s dead ends.
The classic example is Sarah, Abraham’s wife. When Abraham tells Sarah what God has told him, that she will give birth to a child, she laughs! Hers is a natural and appropriate response. She is, after all, over 100-years of age.
The biblical idea is that when things seem most impossible from a human perspective, it is then that God is best able to act. Or, more properly, when we have given up trying to control things, God is able to work more effectively in us. It is we who prevent the greater things from happening.
Our faith is, at root, founded on the fact of God’s transcendence. This earthly plane of existence is not all there is. There is a whole reality about which we know very little, one we rarely seek to know or experience. Yet when we do, miracles happen, as when life emerges out of death.
In the Old Testament, Israel is continually critiqued by its most astute spiritual seers as relying too much on worldly wisdom, basing its present and future on human strategies and political realpolitik. When considering our own present and future, we, too, rely too much on such thinking and predicating – to our detriment and to the same effect.
During Eastertide, we are reminded of the transforming power of our transcendent God, along with the attendant need to place our fullest trust in God alone. Such is not easy. In fact, it’s about as difficult as anything can be, requiring continuous awareness, discipline, and no small amount of faith.
As the old traditional prayer has it: Lord, forgive us, for we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. And not only in what we’ve done, but in what we’ve left undone.
What is often left undone, alas, is placing the whole of our lives in God’s hands.