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It’s almost here, can you feel it? I woke up this morning to a house that felt a little more humid, and I didn’t nearly freeze as soon as my feet hit the tile in the kitchen. It was overcast outside, and there was no howling, winter wind.

I’m hoping this means that spring is just around the corner. Each year I look forward to the new life that spring brings as we open the windows and come out of hiding from what seems like the eternal darkness of winter.

How refreshing it is to not have to put on layers upon layers just to step outside! Some days, however, I do have to get the heavy coat out of the front closet and resume winter as normal. Frequent weather changes are a big part of Oklahoma springtime.

I think I can pinpoint my love for spring beyond the return of green grass and blue skies. I think what I enjoy most about this season is the impending hope and joy that are promised to come.

Sunshine, flowers, time spent outside and so many other things that come with spring are what personally seem to lessen the blow of frigid temperatures, short hours of sunlight and overall dead vegetation outside.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many seasons of my life that mirror the transition from the dead of winter to a glimpse of spring.

Lately, I’ve seen and personally experienced a shocking amount of sickness, death and tragedy that has struck my family and people whom I know either with a personal relationship or someone I know through friends.

It seems unfair that the devil would place people I know and hold dear under such attack, especially in the middle of the bitter winter. It seems almost fitting that the devil would thrive during this time, doing his best to steal our joy, rob us of our health and take residence in our thoughts in the form of doubt or fear.

But I have faith that spring is around the corner. The Lord protects those who call Him their father. His plans are greater than our own, and He is omnipotent even when we doubtingly ask, “Lord where are you? How could this happen?”

I know that He has promised joy and hope in the morning, as He tells us in Lamentations, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23).

As I wrote last week, my brother Joel had brain surgery this past weekend. His immediate recovery in the hospital went so smoothly. Everyone around him, including myself, has just been floored.

He passed post-op tests with flying colors, shows no signs of memory loss and seems to be on the fast road to recovery. I don’t hesitate to say that his progress so far is a direct result of the outpouring of prayers Joel and our family received on his behalf.

In the midst of our scary winter-like weekend, where we prayed for Joel’s protection and recovery, the Lord covered us with His wings, surrounded Joel with His healing hands and filled our hearts with hope.

It is because the Lord loves giving His children the desires of our hearts that I won’t stop praying for Joel. We will receive pathology results within the next few days, and I pray for a positive report.

God has shown Himself in our lives, and we are extremely fortunate to come out of this situation still having our Joel by our sides. Like I said before, many families I know are currently grieving the loss of someone they love.

There is hope. While it might be hard to see hope over the horizon of the wintery storm you’re currently enduring, I promise you, friends, there is joy in the morning, and in the most unlikely situations.

Recently I interviewed a pastor, Drew, who lost his wife and baby. I can’t begin to imagine the devastation or grief he feels, but I constantly find that I’m reminding myself of how he explained he is managing to carry on in this tough time.

He said that if his testimony, and the testimony of his wife and son is what someone needs in order to see the Lord and His goodness—if their testimony can further the Kingdom of the Lord, then he can find hope in knowing the Lord is working his tragic situation together for good.

I pray daily that I don’t take for granted the good in my life, but also that should I experienced tragedy, that I would do so with the grace that Drew is demonstrating.

I hope, friends, that you can look to the spring with hope and anticipation that He has risen from the grave, taking all of our pain, sorrow, sin and suffering with him, so we no longer have to bear those burdens alone.