What happens next?

Are you as weary as I am of titles to stories and articles that promise to “wow” you with an amazing surprise?

To tell you the truth, I usually murmur “What happens next is that I ignore this.” And then move on to something without the phony hype.

The tried and true standard method for creating a title for writing or speaking is to sum up the subject in a few words. New advertising techniques have changed the paradigm, but most of these promises of rapturous wonderment never materialize.

But the title may have enticed you to read the story, and they got your eyes to view advertisements that were paid for. It is deceptive and tricky at best, and dishonest at the heart of it.

What happens next?

We get jaded.

What happens next?

Advertisers will find another way to grab your attention, fairly or unfairly.

As we gardeners put our beds to rest for another winter, we know that what happens next is that we learn patience. The daffodil and crocus bulbs will grow longer roots on the milder days, but will sit there doing nothing but surviving on the bitterly cold ones.

What happens next? We celebrate survival. This old world is full of cold and bitter reality, as harsh as any winter storm and as gloomy as the threatening grey skies above. There will be days when we take a lesson from these soldiers of the garden, staying at their posts as they await warmer temperatures.

As certain as the dark days of winter are, there is always — ALWAYS — springtime! Up in my Northern garden, I could only start searching for signs of new life in March or April. In the sunnier South, I can expect bulbs to put out their first green leaves much sooner, often beginning in the fall.

But the winter months still move slowly, with no change to be seen for weeks, even months.

What do we do when our days seem to be one step forward, two steps back? What does happen next when we struggle and try, but the fruit of our labor seems as elusive as the amazing end to that story that promised so much but delivered almost nothing?

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains” (James 5:7, NASB).

What happens next?

We work hard. We develop the type of character that doesn’t wait for something good to just happen, but that makes it happen!

What happens next?

We pray for patience. The kind of patience that even when we cannot seem to effect change with our own efforts, that we continue to trust that God is still in control, no matter the outcome.

What happens next?

We cease being dependent on hype and blather around us, promising us joy; and realize that the source of joy is our Creator. We then become closer to God.

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