"Tho' April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May.
So if it's raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn't raining rain, you know,
It's raining violets."
"April Showers" is a familiar song to most of us, and April showers are familiar to all of us. April showers usher in springtime, with its promise of new life, freshness, and, often, renewed acquaintances with neighbors who've been hibernating for the winter.
Occasionally we speak of the "promise" of spring. We mean by this the joys that attend its arrival. We never speak of the "promise" of winter, perhaps because we don't look forward to the harsh conditions. The word "threat" seems more appropriate. Winters may be more mild or more severe than hoped, but those April showers never seem to disappoint our expectations for those May flowers.
The Bible speaks of showers as well. When God speaks about the restoration of the earth after judgment, He promises: "I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing" (Ezekiel 34:26). Although primarily promising Israel and the redeemed that they will have the rain they need to produce crops, God uses that truth to illustrate the blessings of refreshment that He provides, especially to believers.
The greatest of these "showers" is called "the times of refreshing." In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter exhorts: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for youeven Jesus" (Acts 3:19, 20). Notice that the "times of refreshing," referred to by Ezekiel, center around the Lord Jesus. And the ultimate blessing is the forgiveness of sins through repentance.
Peter went on to preach about the resurrection of Christ. Springtime is almost universally associated with Easter, more properly known as Resurrection Day. Just as the promise of springtime includes the renewal of growth and the bursting forth of new life from the dead of winter, the resurrection of Christ promises new life from the death of the sinful nature, and bursting graves when he returns.
Those heavenly showers continue today and every day and in every month and every season, in all the good things God does for us. The rain is always the most intense during the darkest storms, even when we don't see it. When our trials seem the worst, when we can't see two steps ahead and the future is a blur, we can stop and count our blessings and trust in the promises of God. Jesus gives us the silver linings in many of the clouds of life, as related in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Peter promised that the Lord would send Jesus. Paul told us about that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shoutand the dead in Christ will rise first. (We) who are still alivewill be caught up together with them. And so we will be with the Lord forever." This is refreshing news!
As if that isn't enough, the Lord promises an eternal renewal, greater than any springtime we can recall from the most halcyon childhood:
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. I am making everything new (Revelation 21:3-5).
April showers bring May flowers. Once a year. God's promises bring showers of blessings. All the time. Whether the sun is shining or the thunderheads are threatening, it's the season to count your blessings!
Alan Allegra is a freelance Christian writer in Pennsylvania. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: www.mcall.com. Available for writing. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alanallegra/
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