Springtime in the Rockies can be unpredictable. One recent Saturday it was so sunny and warm that my kids and I went to play miniature golf. The next day, we had a blizzard.
Life is unpredictable too. You might feel everything is going well. Then you hear the screech of the brakes. You get the unexpected phone call, the pink slip, the legal papers, or the biopsy results. The world stops. Your blood runs cold. Your hands feel icy. You face a crisis.
When the crisis goes on for a very long time, you can feel stuck in a world of never-ending pain, where all is unremittingly bleak. Vincent Van Gogh knew about this.
“It is true that in winter,” he wrote, “it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’ Yes, evil often seems to surpass good by far. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I still have hope.”
Bah! So what if Van Gogh had hope? It was only fleeting. He committed suicide in the end. Besides, what does he know about my winter? It is all very well to say that seasons change and I’m just going through a long hard season, but I don’t believe it. Not for a minute.
I identify with Jeremiah, the prophet who wrote: “Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.”
But even he adds, “Then I remember something that fills me with hope. The Lord’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need; I can depend on him!’” (Lamentations 3:19-24 CEV)
What do you say deep in your heart?