As I write this, it’s late April 2022. We just celebrated Easter. But walking out my front door, one would think it’s late February or early March. This spring, temperatures have barely reached 50 degrees (on a good day). We are enduring a prolonged winter—cold, wind, and even snow.
Here, in the upper Midwest, we naturally have a long winter, so the longing for spring is especially strong. And any additional days of cold can cause discouragement and even depression. It is hard to live in winter when the calendar says it is spring.
My prayers plead with God, “I just can’t take much more of this, Lord. How much longer? When will we receive relief?”
Winter Blues in Spring
Seasonal affective disorder, or the winter blues, is a very real thing. Often, we hear about it—and various ways to beat it—in January or February. That is when it affects most people. By the time spring arrives in mid-March, most symptoms fade, we feel happier, and we have more energy.
But what if the weather does not improve by a certain date on the calendar? And is it possible that a desire for change in the weather, or sunshine after the rain, can point toward a deeper longing within the interior life?
While I long for actual warmth and sunshine—for spring to finally arrive—I also realize that I can experience an extended winter deep within my soul.
Perhaps the correct spiritual phrase to describe this is “dark night of the soul” or desolation.
We might experience this through various prolonged sufferings:
- chronic illness or pain
- spiritual discouragement
- financial hardship
- relationship conflict
- job stress
The sufferings we face are real; they are part of our human experience. We grow weary of them, just like we grow weary of the weather. And whatever is afflicting us, after so long, we lose hope that it will ever improve. It’s a little like the sadness of Good Friday lasting well into the Easter season, and all we really desire is to feel the joy of the Resurrection.
Do you need some spring in your life? Have you lost hope that it will come? Where else can we find hope, if not in the weather or in our present circumstances?
Six Ways to Activate Hope in Our Lives
Here are six simple ways to renew the hope that feels lost, to experience spring when it is still winter outside.
- Begin with an act of hope.
- Spend time with Jesus, asking Him for daily bread to sustain you as we carry your daily cross.
- Find a Bible verse that can become a daily reminder of hope. (See below)
- Cling to the blessings and gifts God generously shares with you. Gratitude allows us to enter into hope more easily.
- Remember how the Lord has worked in your life before, so you can hope in how He is working now.
- Praise Him in the hallway, as you wait for hope to open up to you.
Jesus is Our Hope, Our New Life, Our Springtime
More than anyone, Jesus understands our pain, sorrow, and difficulty. He endured it all, as He suffered and died on the cross—for you and for me. And He promised a resurrection after death; a spring after winter.
In fact, He is “the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
Yes, Jesus is our hope, our new life, our springtime.
So, no matter how long winter lasts—whether seasonally or within our soul—whatever dryness, emptiness, or hopelessness we may feel, however long and weary the journey has been, Jesus will not abandon us. Instead, He will walk with us, through our winter into spring. Today, let us put our hope in Him.
Oh, Lord, may I lean into Your promises. Replace my fear with trust. May I look upon Your gaze and see the deep love You have for me, Your daughter, a tiny flower in Your field of springtime flourishing. Amen.
Bonus: Five Hope-Filled Bible Verses
The God of Israel spoke; of me the Rock of Israel said, “One who rules over humankind with justice, who rules in the fear of God, is like the light at sunrise on a cloudless morning, making the land’s vegetation glisten after rain. // 2 Samuel 23:2-4
My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not fall. // Psalm 62:6-7
For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come! // Song of Songs 2:11-13
See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? // Isaiah 43:19
Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. // Romans 5:5
This was originally published on catholicmom.com.