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COLUMN: From winter to spring, moving on from a difficult season to new beginnings

Lt. Scott B. Swires, co-commanding officer
Posted 5/6/23

What was spring like when you were growing up? What were the sights and sounds? Do smells take you back?

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COLUMN: From winter to spring, moving on from a difficult season to new beginnings


What was spring like when you were growing up? What were the sights and sounds? Do smells take you back?

Maybe the mix of rain and fresh cut grass reminds you of how life was as a kid. Something I love in Scripture is how God used the five senses in the worship experience. All of them were key to understanding what God was saying. We’re no different today. I do not think it’s an accident that our five senses are not just for taking in new thoughts, but critical in remembering old ones.

For me, the smell of hot dogs reminds me of afternoon baseball games at Three Rivers Stadium. I can remember taking in all the earlier lessons with my dad about where to stand and when to throw. Without those lessons, I would have missed so much.

I now get to pass on those lessons to three boys. We have spent the past two soggy weeks buying new gear, catching pop flies, and keeping our eye on the ball. I watch them as they struggle getting a grip on the bat. They are still overcoming their fear of getting hit when catching. Not to mention understanding things like when to throw to first or get the lead runner out.

I can see the disappointment when they miss the catch or get struck out. I’m now realizing how important it was to learn those early lessons, especially how to overcome the feeling of disappointing others. There were many streaks of disappointment in my Little League career.

I found out I was not alone when I got married. My wife is a classically trained dancer in ballet and modern. I have heard her stories of disappointments along her path to grow. Growing is hard. It is uncomfortable. It is full of wanting a break, but only finding opportunities to be stretched. If you feel like you’re in a season when you can’t catch your breath, it’s okay. You’re not alone. Difficulty does not always mean that you did so≠≠mething wrong. It often means you’re growing into something.

The psalms are full of moments when the authors felt like this isn’t the plan. David cried out in Psalm 32 “my bones are wasted away” and “my strength was sapped.” In Psalm 77 a man named Asaph said, “... at night I stretched out my untiring hands.”

The original language here is much more painful. It means to have an open wound that is untreated. Many of the psalms are honest about life having its difficulties. Yet, there’s always a but. Just like in these psalms, it is important to look for the “but, God” moments in life. “But you, o Lord, are a shield (Psalm 3:3).” “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).” I am so happy that these “but, God” moments carry well into the New Testament. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).” “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4,5).”

I’m not sure what kind of winter you might be coming out of, but if you’re ready for a “but, God” moment God is ready to hear you. So, how do we have a “but, God” moment? I would encourage you to use your five senses and explore the “but, God” moments of your past. Revelations 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus has the power to release the same thing to happen again.

Was there a moment when you were a kid when you were going through something difficult and someone helped you over a hot cup of cocoa? Drink some cocoa and remember. Maybe a family member took you to the movies to break up what had been a string of disappointments. Call up a friend and enjoy the aroma of melted butter on popcorn and remember. Maybe it’s time to feel the ocean breeze again and remember. Maybe it’s time to read a good book and remember. Maybe it’s time to go to church again to take in the sights and sounds of a childlike faith and remember.

Live out those early lessons again so you can remember that even though you might feel completely downcast that “because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail (Lamentations 3:20-22).”


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