Mar 25 2015

Hope Springs Eternal

_DSC8730I am blessed to live just a mile from John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, Kentucky.  After work today I decided to head that way and take a walk.  It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that spring has definitely arrived in western Kentucky.  Not only were there the proverbial robins hopping around, there were wildflowers everywhere.  I saw Dutchmen’s breeches, toothwort, squirrel corn and bloodroot in bloom.  I also observed Virginia bluebells, trillium and anemones beginning to emerge.  In only a matter of days there will be a wonderful floral display for anyone willing to take even a short walk in the woods.  If I had taken the same walk just a couple of weeks ago I would not have seen the many flowers I did this afternoon.  Winter still held its grip on the landscape.  I may not have been able to see them then but I would have known that they were coming.  Spring wildflowers are as predictable as spring itself.  Even on the most frigid snowy day of winter you know it’s just a matter of weeks before you will begin to see new life emerging from the earth.

_DSC8705Alexander Pope long ago penned the famous line “hope springs eternal.”  Nature has a way of reminding us that things do not remain as they are.  Spring always follows winter.  In fact, it is the hope of spring’s arrival that enables a lot of us to get through the dreary and cold days of winter.  In winter’s darkest hour we know a brighter day is coming.

There is a corresponding truth in the spiritual realm.  Many people experience times in their life that may well be compared to the cold and dark days of winter.  These times can come in any season of the year or in our lives.  We get discouraged or depressed.  We feel lonely and isolated.  Some may begin to lose hope when winter seems to characterize their lives.  But I believe that hope truly does spring eternal, that there is always hope of better days to come. This hope is based purely on my faith in God.

_DSC8718Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  When it’s winter in our lives, just like when it’s winter in nature, we have the assurance that spring will come.  My faith leads me to believe that with God in the picture there is always a better day to come.  I am certainly not naïve; I realize that here on earth that the “better day” we desire does not always arrive.  Still I am “sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  I believe that this life is not all that there is and that there is a far better day waiting for us on the other side of death’s door.  One way or another a better day is coming!

I think I now understand why God arranged for Easter to take place in spring…


(I took the pictures used above at John James Audubon State Park this afternoon.)

Jan 27 2013

Through the Eyes of a Child

Rose-breasted-GrosbeakIn a journal I keep in my study I have recorded the following words by an unknown writer: “God, are you real?” the child whispered. “God speak to me.”  And a meadowlark sang.  But the child did not hear.  So the child yelled, “God, speak to me!”  And the thunder rolled across the sky, but the child did not listen.  The child looked around and said, “God let me see you.”  And a star shone brightly, but the child did not notice.  And the child shouted, “God show me a miracle!”  And a life was born, but the child did not know.  So the child cried out in despair, “Touch me God, and let me know you are here!”  Whereupon God reached down and touched the child.  But the child brushed the butterfly away and walked away unknowingly.

I like this piece because it serves as a reminder that God often speaks to us and reveals Himself through nature.  I’m not sure, however, why the person who wrote it used a child as the primary subject.  I suspect that children are more likely to recognize God’s presence in Creation than most adults.  Children have not yet lost their sense of wonder; they typically maintain a simple trust that we adults struggle to keep as we grow older.   Perhaps that is why Jesus once spoke these words: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2)

Paducah-storm-cloudsI do believe that God can speak through a meadowlark and loud claps of thunder.  I believe God can be seen in the stars shining above, as well as in the birth of a child.  I likewise believe that God’s touch can be felt when a butterfly alights on one’s face.  But in order to experience these things we must have the faith of a child.  Our grown up rational minds will likely fail to make the connection.

butterfly-on-milkweedYes, if we want to see and hear God more often, whether in nature or anywhere else, we should ask God to help us see through the eyes of a child.  Then, and only then, will we be able to look with eyes full of wonder and humility—the eyes that will enable us to recognize the face of God and to feel His gentle touch.


I photographed the rose-breasted grosbeak (sorry, I didn’t have a meadowlark image) and storm clouds in Kentucky.  The butterfly image was taken in Virginia.