Later that night, I heard a loon calling out on the lake, a sure sign of open water and springtime. I love the sounds of a loon. There is a haunting, lonesome quality to their call coming over the water late at night. But in the next breath, you’ll hear the sweet trilling warble that sounds so much like laughter that people have coined the phrase: “laughing like a loon” (and then quite inaccurately taken it a step further to say “grinning like a loon”). They are fun to watch if you’re out canoeing on the lake. An expert diver and swimmer, the loon will disappear under the water and not reappear for what feels like a very long time. Then suddenly, they’ll bob up again far off in the distance in a totally different direction than you thought they would! An elusive bird and one that I was glad to welcome back after a long winter.
My husband even said he heard some frogs croaking when he went on a walk yesterday.
My thoughts were on spring and the newness of life – and God’s mercies – new and fresh as the green grass of springtime.
This morning – ah, this morning… Well, to start off with, it’s snowing. A lot. The sky is gray and the thin, gray ice on the lake will soon have a layer of snow insulating it, keeping it from completely melting. The little patch of moving water under the bridge will stay open but outside my window, the world is like an old black and white photo – everything in shades of gray.
I looked up the verse that had been going through my head – the one about God’s mercies being new every morning. It’s from the book of Lamentations, chapter 3 and verse 23. It was written by Jeremiah – the “weeping prophet.” As I read the verse in context, I began to realize that it had been written not in the exuberance of springtime but in the cold, dark winter of the soul. Jeremiah’s words, so often repeated in song and verse, had been spoken out of a heart filled with deep sorrow and crippling pain. He felt shut off from God: “…when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.” The world felt dark to him - and lonely: “I was a derision to all my people… He has broken my teeth with gravel stones…my strength and my hope is perished…”
Then, out of the ashes of despair, Jeremiah wrote these words: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his mercies fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
Jeremiah, though still in a dark, desolate place, was not “consumed.” There was still a small flicker of hope that could be fanned into a bright flame of courage, and Jeremiah could once again hear the voice of the Lord saying “Fear not.”
Though I long for blue skies and the warmth of summer sunshine, it is often in the cold and dark of winter that we are attuned to His voice speaking gently to our hearts. His words, “Fear not” echo down through the ages from Genesis 15:1 to Revelations 1:17 and were often on the lips of our Saviour as he walked this earth: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).
Spring will come and one day soon the ice will be completely gone off the lake. But for now, it is enough to know that, whether gray skies or blue, God is faithful and His mercies are new every morning.
Author of Jasmine, published by Word Alive Press, released this month and available in bookstores across Canada.
Jasmine Peters is doing everything in her power to avoid talking about, or dealing with, what happened to her. But when the past interfaces with the future, Jasmine not only puts herself at risk but also endangers the life of newly commissioned RCMP constable, Andrew Martin.