by Stephen Simpson
Publication: One-to-One, Spring 2007

WHEN WINTER MELTS INTO SPRING, IT PAINTS A PROPHETIC PICTURE FOR YOU AND FOR ME

A Hope That Won't Give Up - New Wine Magazine cover (New Hope)Nearly 25 years ago, when I was a young editorial assistant with NEW WINE Magazine, we published an issue entitled “A Hope That Won’t Give Up.” The cover featured a lovely flower pushing up through the snow and spreading its warm bloom against the chilly ice.

Not being a horticulturist, and not accustomed to snowy climes, I asked about this unusual flower that could bloom so beautifully in such a seemingly hostile environment, and was told that it was a Snow Crocus, which is often the first flower that blooms in springtime. When we think of flowers, we generally think of something that is frail and delicate, lovely to look at, but fleeting and fragile. But I was very taken with this particular variety of crocus which springs up through the snowy ground, undaunted by the crunchy ice crystals or the frosty air, in order to shout to the world that a new season is on the way.

I am reminded today of the crocus as I write, gazing out of my window on a cold, grey morning. Thanks to magazine deadlines and printing schedules, I am writing about springtime things while I am still living in winter. As I sit by my desk in Alabama, I know that somewhere far away from here, there are millions of crocus bulbs down in the ground, invisible underneath mounds of snow, ice, rocks, and mud. But deep within these bulbs is a code, implanted by their Maker, that is alert and alive. Those seeds which fell into the ground and died and seem to have no life left in them are just weeks away from bursting into splendorous songs of color.

Winter seems to us to be a season of death and dying. Life has its winter times, when we face challenges or changes or even seeming defeat. But, we are called to take our very lives and offer up our time, energy, and resources to the Lord–our glories and our failures–to place them into the Father’s faithful hand, and allow Him to do with us what He will. Jesus tells us something amazing about this:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24).

Nature teaches us that, indeed, “to everything there is a season” (see Ecclesiastes 3:1), and gives us a prophetic picture of what happens when winter melts into spring. There is a divine exchange that takes place: He gives us His love that removes our fear, His joy that wipes away our tears, His peace that drives away our fears, His riches instead of our lack, His compassion instead of our rage, His life instead of our death.

When life leads us into wintertime, we often worry about the bareness of the trees, the desolation of the soil, the biting winds that whip mercilessly through the hollows of our hearts. But the crocus reminds us that there is a day coming, another day, another season, when by some miracle wrought only by the Creator, fresh flowers will come forth and herald new life.

It’s tough to see it now, especially if you are watching the news headlines. But the Lord hasn’t toppled off of His Throne, He’s not wringing His hands, and His goodness and mercy never, ever fail. That seed that lies dead in the ground is pregnant with promise.

Please pray for us here at CSM. In our lives, in our ministry finances, and in the heaviness of the workload, we are in a very challenging season. But we will again see fresh sprouts peeking up above the snow.

One area of encouragement on the horizon for us is the placement of all of our archives of New Wine Magazine onto our newly-designed CSM website, which will appear, appropriately enough, this Spring. Keep watching, keep praying, keep hoping, and we’ll keep you posted!

Scripture Reference: John 12:24; Ecclesiastes 3:1