Spring Fever and Our Longing for Something New

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I brush my teeth at a window that overlooks our side yard, where we’ve got tarps stretched under the evergreen trees and anchored by cement blocks. Each morning looks like the last— drab skies and winter wind over the tarped ground, my elbows on the windowsill.

It’s barely March and I’m achy under spring fever. My fingers are restless for soil and my skin is ready for sunlight and those tarps remind me of the months of death before life.

I already know which wildflower seeds I’ll scatter under the pines. The garden boxes are empty, but come April and May, I’ll arrange herbs, vegetables, fruits. I’ll work under a sweet sun.

Until then, it’s waiting at the window.

Waiting—Aching— for Something New

Spring fever is the symptom of a fiercer burning inside all of us. It’s something C. S. Lewis suffered from in The Weight of Glory:

“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts…”[i]

We ache for the New Creation.

Lewis used a German word — sehnsucht— to describe this desire, because it captures what English can’t. It’s a “disorienting longing”[ii] for something unfinished and unexplainable.[iii]

It’s a fever that makes us sick.

But we’re not just sick with longing; we’re sick with longing for something new, something beautiful, something infinitely satisfying. Like the Psalmist, our longing mingles with hope:

“My soul longs for your salvation;

I hope in your word.

My eyes long for your promise;

I ask, “When will you comfort me?” (Ps. 119:81-82)

Winter makes us groan for spring the way the world makes us groan for new heavens and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).

And Paul reminds us that groaning will soon give way to glory:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God…

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:18-19, 22-23).

Is a New Creation Coming?

I discovered the Resurrection Letters (Vol. I) this time last year, when the wind was wet, the trees empty, the nights long. Andrew Peterson’s album echoed my groans:

Do you feel the world is broken?

We do.

Do you feel the shadows deepen?

We do.

Is all creation groaning?

It is.

But then his liturgy forced me to look up and tell myself the truth:

Is a new creation coming?

It is.

Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst?

It is.[iv]

“Spring will come,” the lyrics whispered.

The Son will stand on the mount again, with an army of angels at his command. The earth will split like the hull of a seed wherever Jesus plants his feet. And up from the earth the dead will rise, like spring trees robed in petals of white.[v]

You and I are farmers, watching the drab sky and tarped ground, waiting for the Day when the Son returns.

Until then, it’s waiting at the window.

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (Jms. 5:7-8).

“But according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pt. 3:13).

It is good that we remind ourselves of this.

Establish the Soil for Spring

But waiting for the New Creation—the Kingdom that’s coming—doesn’t mean we waste our hours at the window. Jesus’s coming changes our today.

How?

“Establish your hearts,” James says, “for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

The coming requires establishing.

It’s a command for activity— for dressing ourselves and sharpening our minds and asking God to strengthen our souls.

Like smothering weeds with tarps, we’re called to put to death what’s earthly inside us (Col. 3:5).

Like pressing seeds into the hard ground, we’re called to sow righteousness (Hos. 10:12) and scatter the good news of Christ’s gospel (Mk. 16:15).

Like pouring water into the earth, we’re called to tend and disciple his people until that Day (1 Cor. 3:8-9)— when the Son shines swiftly over a far, green country and the fruit of every seed blooms in perfection.

The Day when spring comes at last.

 

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” (Rev. 21:1)

 

“And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

 

 

[i] C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

[ii] https://rabbitroom.com/2019/11/sehnsucht-the-intensity-of-yearning/

[iii] https://rabbitroom.com/2014/02/here-be-dragons/

[iv] Andrew Peterson, “Is He Worthy?” Resurrection Letters (Vol. I), Centricity Music, 2018

[v] Andrew Peterson, “Remember Me” Resurrection Letters (Vol. I), Centricity Music, 2018

4 thoughts on “Spring Fever and Our Longing for Something New

  1. This came at just the perfect time! Not only am I reading “The Weight of Glory” right now, but my church choir is rehearsing “Is He Worthy.” With the approach of spring and my reading of the “Weight of Glory” I’ve been thinking a lot along these lines.

    Liked by 1 person

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