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Kenny's Korner- Hope

By Kenny Rader

A young boy and a creek

Since the weather has turned springlike and the sun gives warmth, my heart returns to childhood and the days spent in the little creek in the back of the farm where I grew up. After school and on weekends, I spent countless hours in the water and on its banks. 

 

There were two particular areas of the creek that brings memories. First was the crossing: a place where years ago, someone had filled the stream with flagstone and bricks to make a place for farm equipment to cross. The crossing wasn’t for the large equipment of today’s farmers, but for the smaller tractors and equipment of the early to mid-1900s. It made a perfect place for a young boy to search under rocks and in little pools for crayfish, leeches, and small water critters.

 

The other area for great exploration was a little farther downstream, where two sandbanks each lay reaching from the opposite bank. There appeared little reason for the sandbanks, as floods sometimes crafted minor changes. Still, overall, they remained similar year after year. The two of them squeezed the water to a narrow channel, yet each sandbank formed calmer pools of water next to them. Those quieter areas provided fun places to explore for fish, tadpoles, and other small creatures.  

More than the creek

The creek was only part of the fun of the spring because it ran through a corner of the woods and into a small flood plain. Each spring, the woods, and the flood plain gave birth to sights, sounds, and new growth. Birds that had flown south for the winter returned, and their songs filled the air like a medley. The colors of new growth gave extraordinary beauty as the young plants and their flowers grew into a living tapestry that only God could create. Both the birds in the sky and the tender plants on the ground demonstrated restored life that had lain cold and silent only a few weeks earlier. Mice that had burrowed under the previous cold blanket of snow now scurried around, finding pleasure in the warm and new growth. 

 

And oh, the fresh aroma of spring filled the air. Spring smells different, unlike any other time of the year. Perhaps the only other season with such distinctive scents is the autumn season that prepares the earth for winter sleep. But the two seasons of specific aromas are vastly different. Autumn has the smell of mild decay, while spring has the scent of new life, much like a freshly bathed baby. The aroma of spring is soft and sweet.

The hope of spring

Springtime brings hope. No matter how bitter the winter or how terrible life has treated us, spring brings hope. Just as the little creek, woods, and floodplain gave hope to a young boy each spring after a long and cold winter, the same happens in our lives every year. Sadly, death occurs, but just as a seed must die to bring new life, death also brings new life – and new hope. That’s the hope of spring.

Seasons of life

Life is much like the seasons of the year. Each season of our life is different. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter each passing year after year without regard to what happens to us. Some seasons of our lives are fun, while others are bitter, but each season brings change and helps us cope with what has happened and what comes next. For many, however, nothing brings hope like springtime and the refreshing resurgence of the earth with new life.

The hope of the resurrection

Jesus' life had seasons too. His birth and ministry, with its glorious times of healing and teaching, were each a season. His times of intense discussions with the religious leaders who opposed Him, plus eating with the outcasts and sinners whom the elite religious leaders rejected were seasons. The time Jesus spent with His closest followers whom He taught, and the women who supported Him made for seasons in His life. But the season Jesus most dreaded was His betrayal, crucifixion, and death. It was the winter of Jesus’ life. Hope was lost for all who trusted that He would restore the greatness of Israel’s kingdom.

 

But just as spring brought hope to the young boy who waited for winter to pass, Jesus brings a new kind of spring and hope to a world of people in their own winter of lostness and despair. God raised Jesus from the dead early one Sunday morning, and His resurrection gave His followers hope.  Jesus also gives us hope: hope that nothing in this world can return us to a spiritual winter of death. Jesus gives new life to anyone that desires it – if we will simply receive and obey Him as our Savior. It's a hope that winter cannot destroy. 

 

So, this spring as God restores beauty to the earth and gives us hope, let’s remember the hope of an empty grave because Jesus is alive. Jesus brings us new life! He is life!

 

Love you & God Bless,

 

Kenny