Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane:
The palms of your hand will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You’ll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you’ll walk like a man!
– “Do you Fear the Wind?” by Hamlin Garland
We’ve all heard the old adage: “April showers bring May flowers!”. While it’s easy to shrug these words off as little more than a rhyme cited by ultra cheerful optimists, the adage is a truthful one that we all should cling to in difficult seasons. “April” is a time we all go through at one time or another. Our April may be short or long; we may go through it once, or we may go through it multiple times…whatever the case may be, April will come. None of us can fully escape dark and dreary times in our life, symbolized by the rainy month before the flowers bloom. To get to May, we must conquer April…there is no way around, only through.
April isn’t all bad, you know. The rainy days may bring gloom, but they also bring a promise – May flowers are coming. So it is with dismal times in our lives. As Christians, we can be assured that the difficult seasons on this earth will last only for a little while; soon to be replaced by better days. In the meantime, how can we “weather” our way through our Aprils? Is there really a way from trial to triumph? What can we learn from an April shower?
Today, we will ponder three significant actions that April showers perform in our lives. Act One…
April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with Spring rain. – T.S. Eliot
An April shower arrives on the scene as a dark, sinister figure lurking in the shadows…
An April shower is the knock on the door: “there’s been an accident”.
It’s the breakup call: “we need to talk”.
It’s the test results: “the cancer has recurred”.
It’s the tear-stained letter: “missing in action”.
April showers are the fruition of our worst fears:
Saying goodbye all too soon. Being lonely. Having your name slung through the mud. Being falsely accused. Never measuring up, no matter how hard you try. Being rejected. Feeling like no one truly cares about you. Being misunderstood.
Like a Spring rain, the pain in our life comes looming over us as a furious storm cloud and then pelts down on us suddenly and drenches us completely. We feel like David, who cried out in anguish:
…Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest…I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. – Psalm 55:6,8
When our trials feel like more than we can bear, abandoning ship can look rather inviting. Yet David pushed through his April…he didn’t stop trusting in the Lord or give up on his God-given purpose. Neither should we, or we will never see Act Two…
April is the kindest month. April gets you out of your head and out working in the garden. – Marty Rubin
An April shower takes up residence, rolls up its sleeves, and crafts something beneath the surface…
In one sense, April is the cruelest month, but it can also be the kindest. How so? April (which symbolizes difficult times in our lives) performs a mighty work in us that no other time can do so well. It begins to groom us for May…molding something underneath the surface to be revealed in due time; just as an April shower grooms the parched ground with rain.
Every pain in life has the potential to set us backward or to set us forward. We get to choose whether the rain will drown us out and diminish us to nothing, or grow new life in the soil of our hearts.
The hardest time to see the results of Spring rain is during the tedious grooming process. We look out the window for days on end and see nothing but dark and dreary skies. We glumly muse, “Will it ever stop raining? Why must every day be drop after drop of rain?” So it is with our trials…we may ask, “Will I ever stop hurting? Why must every day be drop after drop of pain?” We ask both questions because we don’t see the work being done “underground”, as it were. We don’t see beyond the surface:
…I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. – Amos 4:7b
Without rain, a piece of land and a person are both bound to wither away. As hard as it is to accept, the greatest growth occurs through rain and pain – but only if we let it be so. It’s the only way to make room for Act Three…
April is a promise that May is bound to keep. – Hal Borland
An April shower clears away in time, and leaves in its wake a beautiful new creation…
An April shower looms, and an April shower grooms, but thanks be to God, an April shower blooms! April showers do bring about May flowers, but only after weeks of driving rain and stormy blasts. Will we, as Christians, likewise bloom under great pressure and adversity? If pain is allowed to have its perfect work in us, it can transform us into something grand.
Pain is one of life’s greatest teachers. It can build in a person knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. It can give us compassion and grace for others. It can make us soft where we were once hard of heart. It can give us the right words of comfort to someone going through a similar trial. It can spur us and inspire us to help our fellow man. It can bring us closer to the Lord. It can affect generations.
Maybe you are experiencing an April shower in your life right now. Take heart, my friend…this season will not last forever. Press on with all that is in you; May is coming:
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo…the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth… – excerpt from Song of Solomon 2:10-12
Is there a way from trial to triumph? The answer is: absolutely. If we can hold on tight through April’s looming and grooming, we will soon see the glorious day of our blooming. You and I were made to be Mayflowers. It may be that God is using us to bring safe passage to other weary pilgrims on this earth weathering their own storms…if you catch my drift.
Today’s tears grow tomorrow’s flowers. In due time we will see…
Sweet April’s tears, Dead on the hem of May. – Alexander Smith
For God’s Glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.