Momentary light affliction

Spring is in the air! It’s also in the soil, the rain, and the weeds, and the ache in my back from all the bending and stooping.

All complaining aside, springtime is my favorite time of the year. The hundreds of daffodils playing in the breezes, nodding over their crocus counterparts, are just beyond breathtaking this year.

Did I mention that taking the aforementioned breath gets a little more difficult when hauling mulch into the awakening beds? Oh, that’s right. Nothing to complain about here, when surrounded by billows of beautiful blooms!

The exhilaration of it all makes the joyfully sore gardener want to put out all the tender perennials that have been sheltered for the winter. The sight of tomato and basil plants at the garden centers makes her heart leap! YES! Let’s put them in the garden, too!

But the “last expected frost” date is not for another six weeks. Just because today’s temperatures warranted our most summery short-sleeved shirts doesn’t mean we won’t get some hard freezes in the coming weeks.

As Christians, we experience joys of our own salvation and of God’s great love to us in ways that make us sing inside…and out loud! During those “mountaintop moments” we don’t remember the cold valleys, and maybe that’s a good thing.

But we should never let our guard down to an extent that the harsh reality of this life will hit us too unexpectedly. Don’t put your spiritual scarves and sweaters away too soon! And certainly don’t put your faith out in the cold, where it can get frostbitten and dead as easily as a tomato plant in March.

What I mean is this; protect your heart by relying on God instead of circumstances. When things are going well, it can seem like a sunny day in winter. If we expect this to be the norm, instead of simply being grateful for the reprieve from the cold, we will surely be disappointed and our faith may fail.

In our garden grows a deceptively delicate little vine that lives through many of the first frosts of fall. I keep hoping that the Asarina Scandens will live through an entire winter and be able to put out blooms before it’s almost time for the frosts again.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB).

The supplier from whom I originally got this seed doesn’t even grow it anymore, because it blooms so late that it doesn’t aways set seed. Remy’s plants finally died out in her Northern garden.

The plant up against the house wall looked promising this year, and I’ll keep the plant there on its little trellis until I see if it starts getting green again; but I will still plant seeds. It’s not that I have lost hope, it’s that I don’t want to lose more than hope. I don’t want to end up like Remy, with no Asarina Scandens in future years.

Some of these frosts are similar to the “momentary light affliction” spoken of in the previous verse. They produce “an eternal weight of glory” by allowing the seeds to get stressed enough to release the germ within.

Many perennial’s seeds will not sprout unless they undergo “cold stratification.” Many of us might not stay faithful unless we go through some light afflictions.

But what about the heavy frosts? We must fortify our faith for the times of heavier afflictions, in the same way we protect the tender tomato plants when the mercury dips below freezing.

Happy spring!

Share your thoughts: