We have the power either of withstanding the spring, and sinking back into the cosmic winter, or of going on into those ‘high mid-summer pomps’ in which our Leader, the Son of Man, already dwells, and to which He is calling us.
The last JoyPrO was about pain that’s real and pressing and all creation groaning and our way-long delayed spring.
That was last week.
Winter Is Past
But it’s 78° today. Windows open, shorts on and the daffodils are smiling at the doves.
Spring came this way slowly. But, as C.S. Lewis wrote, the great thing is that the corner has been turned. The winter is past, the snow is over and done. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, The corner has been turned- at least, outside.
And who in his right mind wouldn’t prefer spring over winter?
Don’t Sympathize (With Yourself)
But some don’t. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I prefer to wait in the cold and withstand the spring.
Don’t get me wrong, My heart thrilled in the breeze in the season’s first big bike ride today. I mean the inner spring. The one Christ said wells up to eternal life. I mean, if I’m not careful, my soul lingers in woe-is-me winter. I’ve noticed that when my soul winters linger it’s because I’m stuck sympathizing with myself.
Now sympathy for others is good and right. It’s beautiful. We are called to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15b) and to have sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8).
But our hearts are supposed to feel tender toward others, to be directed outside of ourselves.
I know- too well- that melancholy and self-pity are a slippery, wintry mix for my soul. They tend toward dark nights. When I sympathize with myself, I choose winter over spring. I choose not to turn the corner and I deprive my Help, my God, of glory.
But my inner self loves spring. Which is why I’m on a sophron quest, a self-control, sound-mind mission to not let my emotions rule me. It’s why I’m learning to distract my wintry thoughts by thinking on excellent and lovely things. To get a grip and push the brakes.
Get a Grip. (Talk to Yourself.)
It is a work. And a process- a Spirit-guided process.
Here he explains why we must get a grip.
This other man within us has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him; condemn him; upbraid him; exhort him; encourage him; remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you…
We must talk to ourselves, instead of allowing “ourselves” to talk to us! Have you not realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? You must say to your soul, preach to yourself, questions yourself “Why are you so downcast?” (Spiritual Depression, p. 20)
Lloyd-Jones is only echoing the Psalmist’s 3,000 year-old cure for the downcast soul that can’t – or won’t- turn the corner from winter into spring.
Let’s take ourselves in hand and leave winter behind. Hope in God, O my soul. Don’t withstand the spring.
We do have that choice. The flowers don’t. The crocus can’t choose if it will come out in spring or not.
But we can.
Go On Into Spring
We can choose.
There is, of course, this difference, that in the natural spring the crocus cannot choose whether it will respond or not. We can. We have the power either of withstanding the spring, and sinking back into the cosmic winter, or of going on into those ‘high mid-summer pomps’ in which our Leader, the Son of Man, already dwells, and to which He is calling us. It remains with us to follow or not, to die in this winter, or to go on into that spring and that summer. (C.S. Lewis, “The Grand Miracle,” God in the Dock)
There is a season for everything; a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. And God knows it’s not for me to determine the times and seasons he’s appointed.
But spring has sprung and it is mine to choose if I will get on with it. If I will hope-in-God obey and rise and follow Jesus.
What will you choose?
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:10-12