There’s something so special about new beginnings. Hope. We all need hope for start-overs, fresh slates, first times.
With hope, all things are possible. Without hope, the spirit withers and dies.
God reminds us to hold onto hope with seasons and life markers. In Wisconsin, where winters are long and skies stay gray, we hold hope for the first signs of spring—a bird flown back, a peek of color about to burst.
Two days ago, on the last day of April, hope turned real.
First I heard him. I searched the backyard branches but couldn’t spot him. Yet, I knew he was there. I KNOW his voice! And my heart beats wild each first time I hear his song of a new spring come.
Hours later, my eyes landed on the birdfeeder and there he sat! My Rose-breasted Grosbeak, my sign that spring has finally arrived for good! And when I spot the first grosbeak, I know my other favorite bird is about to appear—the Baltimore Oriole. The grosbeak tells me to ready the table. Slice the oranges! Scoop the grape jelly! Plate it up and set it out! Hold onto hope! Soon, orange and black feathers will perch in thanks on saucer edge, gratefully filling to feed self, preparing for new life coming. Hold onto hope, the grosbeak pleads!
As of this morning, I haven’t yet seen the Baltimore Oriole. But he will come to the table as soon as he sees. He knows where to fly to find life. Such bird knowledge fills me with wonder. Even the birds know where to find true life. Do we?
We flit about, searching here and there, tasting and hoping. Yet, sweet-looking foods turn sour in our souls and we set out again in search of true filling, true satisfaction, true life. The true is simple to find if we know where to look, if we know how to listen. Look for His fingerprints! Listen for His voice! All nature sings loud of His handiwork, if we will but believe. And search. Search His Word. Pray. Seek His voice. Ask. Ask for revelation. God wants to be found. He is not elusive to those who seek.
As God cares for the birds of the air, how much more does He care for us, His children!
Fifteen years ago, on April 30, 1998, a new life was born. Into a Russian orphanage he was placed. And he grew. He waited. Not quite two years later, two people from half-way around the globe, walked into his life and picked him up in their arms, an orphan no more. He was forever found, forever loved, forever claimed and given a place to belong, forever.
Two days ago, this once orphan blew out 15 candles. The flames were extinguished but his hope still burns bright. He is loved. He is full. He has parents and a family and, most important, He knows God, his Maker, who made all this happen.
As God leads the birds thousands of miles each spring, so God led these two souls thousands of miles and connected hearts forever. Is there anything our God can’t do? Is there any reason to give up hope? My body couldn’t conceive of what my God has delivered.
I am filled with profound gratitude—for the promise of spring—for the promise of new life coming—however and whenever it comes. So, hold onto hope, when you can’t yet see. Ask, seek, knock. The riches of the kingdom of God will flow onto all those whose hope is in Him.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14