Are you ready for spring?

Published 7:44 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

There is cold weather, and then there is memorably cold weather. We probably won’t ever forget the weather of February 2015. Just the sight of Suffolk’s lakes frozen all the way over is an image that will stay with us.

Thankfully, temperatures like this are rare in this neck of the woods. Our friends in the Upper Midwest deal with these kinds of temperatures, often accompanied by bone-chilling wind, for a few months. We just dealt with it for a few days. Our friends in New England have dealt with a punishing amount of snow. We just got a pretty amount of it.

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One solace in all this is that even though it is freezing outside, we know winter is almost over. Spring is coming. In fact, as a baseball fan, I mark the beginning of spring as the day when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Florida and Arizona. That’s already happened.

For Christians, the highlight of our spring is Easter. Appropriately, it occurs at a time when nature is waking up, flowers are blossoming, and things are coming back to life. At the heart of our faith is a Savior who came back to life.

The resurrection of Jesus means that He is the Savior who died for sinners. It means that every claim He made about Himself is true. And it means that those who follow Him will also be raised whenHe returns.

In the meantime, He is calling us to be his ambassadors of grace in this world full of frozen hearts. As we act as His agents of love toward others, we sometimes get to see Him melt frozen hearts.

In “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” the land of Narnia has been frozen for years. It is a place where it is “always winter, but never Christmas.” An evil witch has kept the land under her spell.

But one day the clouds begin to break and a glimmer of sun breaks through. The ice that has encased lakes and rivers begins to break. Flowers begin to bloom. What’s going on? One of the witches’ dwarves thinks he knows, and he tells her.

“This is no thaw,” said the dwarf, suddenly stopping. “This is spring. What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan’s doing.”

Aslan is the lion, who represents Jesus. He comes to Narnia and sacrifices himself so the spell can be broken. He allows evil to converge on him, dies and rises, and destroys the witch.

This week tears filled my eyes when I saw the photo of 21 of my brothers in Christ kneeling on a beach in Libya, with members of ISIS standing behind them preparing to separate their heads from their bodies. These men were murdered because, as ISIS stated, they were “people of the cross.”

But here is what ISIS doesn’t understand. The story doesn’t end at the cross. The cross led to resurrection. The One who was slaughtered like a lamb on our behalf has risen.

One day He is coming again like a lion, and He will destroy evil and raise His followers. He will rule and reign.

Spring is coming. So is Jesus. Are you ready?

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.