Monday, April 15, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: When springtime brings hope to your heart

The Unfolding Hope of Spring
A devotional by Joy Beless

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”
—1 Peter 1:3-4a (NIV)

I love the Spring season! I love this season so much that I have my desk situated in front of the windows just so I can watch spring unfold. There is a predictability to it—knowing which trees will leaf and bloom first. Sunny yellow daffodils pop up to greet the bleak winter days. Like unfolding a letter from a dear friend whom I haven’t heard from in a while, so does my view come to life and color. What is happening in nature mirrors my soul—an awakening to a living hope, through Jesus Christ.

For Christians, resurrected life, like spring, is a gift from our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead as witnessed by over 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6) over a period of 40 days before ascending to Heaven (Acts 1:3). As followers of Jesus, we too will live with Him in resurrected bodies in Heaven one day. This gave Peter’s readers of his letter great hope during the persecution they endured as Christians. And it gives us great hope today to know that our lifetime on this earth is not all there is.

But it is possible to experience the “living hope” today that mirrors springtime and new life surrounding me. To step into the freedom we have as God’s children, forgiven and deeply loved. To receive Christ’s invitation to come and rest in Him, as a child would with a loving father. Keeping in view Christ’s teaching and scriptures that remind us of Heaven, with no tears and no pain, as we navigate life (Revelation 21:4).

I have lived through “winter” seasons of life that were difficult with grief, conflict, and no hope. Discouraging and exhausting, with seemingly unanswered prayers, the days loomed dark and gray. One such season for me was an intersection of intense caregiving and grief with other family needs. My father and aunt for different reasons both ended up in side by side rooms in a skilled nursing facility. For my aunt, she passed away after a few difficult months but for my father, it began a crisis-oriented three year journey of care. Caring for those you deeply love on a slow journey of decline while juggling your everyday responsibilities takes a toll on your own emotional, physical and spiritual health.

However, the winter seasons of life cause me to depend on Jesus in ways I never would have. Experiencing His mercy in small moments, His presence filling my soul through a song or scripture gives sustaining strength to walk through the long days of despair. Taking time to be alone with God, resting and leaning into the comfort of the Holy Spirit brought healing and hope back into my life. It was like a daffodil braving the chilly early spring days. Receiving counsel through grief healing groups and meeting with a spiritual director breathed new life and new seasons of purpose and strength. Like a barren tree in the cold, my roots of faith grew deep. I experienced God in an intimate, but quiet way to endure the season. I no longer had answers but knew I was not alone in the journey. And neither are you.

Lean into the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised and dwells within you. Talk with God about the situations that seem hopeless. Look for that small “bud of color”, despite the circumstances.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father,

You are the source of our “living hope” when we are discouraged and disillusioned. We praise you for the miracle of resurrected life, both within our souls and one day, reunited with you in heaven. Encourage us in difficult seasons. Remind us of our “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). We thank you that this existence on Earth is not all there is. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Seasons Change” by Crystal Lewis. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Joy Beless is a worshipper of God and lover of people.

A practicing Spiritual Director, she is a speaker for retreats and conferences and facilitates guided solitude retreats at the family ranch in North Texas.

A seasoned worship leader and songwriter, she frequently weaves worship, God’s Word and spiritual practices together. She is a chapel provider for a shelter for the houseless and a certified Grief and Trauma Healing Facilitator. Serving at global retreats for Kingdom-minded women delights her soul.

She has written for Global Trellis and Missio Nexus. She connects God’s Word with the reality of our daily in all the ups and downs.

Joy is married to Roger. They live in Coppell (Texas). Joy is called "JoJo" by her nine adorable grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors and encourages flowers to grow in the Texas heat.

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