The Promise of Spring in the Face of Tragedy
There are signs that spring is on its way and the renewed hope that the season brings is desperately needed. Look closely and you can find little stalks of bright green pushing up through the soil, signaling the return of the flowers. There is a hint of the hue of new growth in some of the trees that line our roadways and the buds are emerging on the cherry trees on the Ellipse.
Many faith traditions all have springtime holidays—recognized as “holy-days” —during the early spring. For the Jewish community, the celebration of Passover marks the redemption of God’s chosen people from slavery in Egypt. For Christians, Holy Week and Easter focus attention on the redemption and renewal made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And in the observance of Ramadan, which occurs in the spring this year, a month of fasting and prayer is the means through which Islamic believers may grow closer to God.
The ancient prophet Hosea seems to acknowledge this time of transition from winter to spring when he writes, “As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:3, NIV). First winter rains and now spring rains—but through it all, a singular promise: He will appear, God will make Himself known to us.
Another prophet, Isaiah, speaks to this seasonal change. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)
While these promises are encouraging reminders every year, at the moment they are extremely relevant.
We remember the family, friends and loved ones deeply affected by this week’s tragic shootings in Atlanta as well as members of the Asian-American community throughout our country. I imagine that many of you as Adventist HealthCare team members have also been affected as you’ve reflected on this senseless and disturbing act.
We stand with our Asian-American communities on our Adventist HealthCare RISES values in denouncing this act, along with any form of violence, discrimination and xenophobia. We continue to pray that God would “make a way in the wilderness” for those who are grieving for those they have lost.
We have also just passed the one-year marker since the start of the pandemic, which has gripped the world and our own community in a wintry state for far too long. With increased vaccinations and continued awareness, we are seeing new signs of hope, a new spring that could signal the end of the pandemic.
I encourage all of us to lay hold of these promises with each glance of a bud, leaf or flower. In the face of tragedy and challenges, God will appear and will continue to make a way!