Colorado never gets the memo about spring till around Mother’s Day — if it doesn’t snow on Mother’s Day itself, which it has done before.
I’m not bitter about it AT ALL.
Just the same, it’s not unusual for me to see a small creature scampering in the woods or along a path during April’s “spring-winter.” You can bet the little guy has weighed the pros and cons of being seen. In my own corner of the Colorado pines, I don’t often see chipmunks this time of year because the chipmunk leans towards sleeping more to conserve energy so his tiny self outlasts our long winter. In his underground home, his heartbeat can go from 350 beats a minute to a barely-there fifteen beats. On a warmer day he might risk being seen by an owl or a fox (or you and me) to check his storehouses of seeds and nuts. But all in all, he will err on the side of resting rather than rummaging.
The cottontail rabbit, on the other hand, leans toward activity. From my office window or the nearby trail, I’m more likely to see her darting about. She regularly monitors and practices the three or four escape routes between her food source — twigs and branches good for chewing — and her hollowed-out space for resting. Long ears bent flat across her back, she’ll likely wait for dusk to zig-zag sprint across the snow toward her food before dashing home again.
Both the chipmunk and cottontail are mighty apt at risk management, and what seems like the best course of action one day may not be so the next.
I don’t often think of myself as having much in common with critters, but I too have discovered that in risk management, what works one day may not work the next. This is never truer than when a circumstance or life occurrence you never saw coming runs right into you.
You shake your head and think, I never, ever could’ve predicted this in a hundred million years.
Of course, none of us could’ve predicted a global pandemic. But pandemic aside, I bet you can think of another time when this very thing happened to you or your family. I know I can. As my family prepared for our future to take a turn in one direction, a change we didn’t see coming threw us in the other. Now, let me tell you something about me: I’m an expert at coming up with worst-case scenarios and making plans to divert them. In this particular case, I thought I had foreseen every possible problem. I took measures to ensure the best possible outcome. I’m not talking about anything outlandish or expensive. Rather, I used good ol’ hard work and productivity to take care of things responsibly.
And then came the turn of events only God saw coming, and all my forethought and “responsible planning” didn’t amount to a hill of beans. None of us asked for or wanted this outcome, but it was what we had.
It’s easier for me to daily assess the risk of doing something than to lean under that umbrella of trust where our Dad in heaven invites me. Because yes, while planning ahead is wise, we can’t put all our stock and security in those plans and in those plans working out the way we had predicted.
But sometimes I act like I can. I act like my efforts are the only component that generates desirable outcomes. I’m swept up in all my doing, and I get too far away from God’s voice reminding me, Working hard is a good thing, daughter, but remember I’m the only One in control. You’re not.
When we are discouraged by the apparently slow progress of all our honest efforts, by the failure of this or the other person, and by the ever new reappearance of enemy powers and their apparent victories, then we should know: the time shall be fulfilled. Because of the noise and activity of the struggle and the work, we often do not hear the hidden, gentle sound and movement of the life that is coming into being. But here and there, at hours that are blessed, God lets us feel how He is everywhere at work and how His cause is growing and moving forward.
— Eberhard Arnold
The smaller that big life event became in the rear view mirror, the more our family came around to seeing it with perspective. In the end, that whiplash turn brought so much good, and I took a big step in placing my confidence in God’s plans rather than my own.
I have no idea what God will allow through the front door of our lives for the remainder of this year. However, I do know Jesus is the door. Nothing comes through it without His permission. Nothing makes it through that isn’t, in the end, heavily slanted toward our success. I don’t say that flippantly or with abandon. I say that because hope always, always gets the last word.
In the meantime, I can set myself up to better hear that hidden, gentle sound that is God’s voice and power moving His good plans forward. I can look at the past with gratitude and the future with hope because He is trustworthy.
Dear one, you and I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Believing this is no risk. It’s a promised guaranteed.
This was really, really beautiful! Thank you for sharing this message – “Hope Always, Always Gets the Last Word.”
Kristen Strong says
Thank you, Elizabeth.
Michelle Spurlock says
I appreciated you words today, well said! We also have something in common – I am that risk adjustor in life too You could not have put better words together describing my life and journey. Yes the pandemic was a life detour, but the big wallop was the loss of my job (primary wage earner for a family of 5), loss of the funding to complete my last 4 MBA classes that may have helped me me get a better job, left with student loans and no degree, and now I am wondering what I did wrong and what is the next path. I know that God’s timing is perfect and He will guide me only in love. But today I cry out to our Father and ask for forgiveness for my lack of trust. Today I cling to the promise that in God, hope has the last word.
Kristen Strong says
Michelle, I’m so sorry to hear about your job loss with the corresponding degree funding problems. It’s so hard when the hits come in numbers, although I’m sure it’s not because you did anything wrong. Life promises troubles, but I’m clinging alongside you that God’s hope will outstretch those troubles. Sending love.
Beth Williams says
Abba Father Please guide Michelle’s steps. Give her a discerning heart to know your will for her life. Help her complete the MBA & get a better job. One that I know you already have for her. Send glimpses of your love to her & the family as they trust you for answers to their trials. Show her how to trust & hope in you always. In Jesus name AMEN!
Connie Williams says
Your wonderful message is exactly what I needed today. Praise the Lord for His amazing grace and hope.
Kristen Strong says
I’m so glad it blessed you today! Thanks for blessing me right back with your kind comment here.
Beautiful piece! Kirsten, I like the description of those critters!
God is Sovereign as we have to place everything in His Hands.
Thank you! Think I will read this one again.
Kristen Strong says
Thank you, Carrie, and may God bless and keep you!
Kristen, I loved, loved, loved this! Spring is slow arriving here on the north Oregon coast this year. There are some sunny days, but the cold north wind blows that warmth right out of our air! Hope is for all of us. Spring and summer will arrive. And our God will meet us here, there and in between. Thank you for a beautiful reminder.
Kristen Strong says
Yes, spring (and summer!) always comes, right? Thank you for sharing the hope here with us, Irene!
Thank you so much for this eloquent writing that reminds us that Jesus is the door. Our hope is in Him and we can be assured of His Sovereignty and Grand Love. I needed to read this today! I also want to share that I too live in an Alpine area in Southern New Mexico, and we actually move from Winter to a Late Spring sometimes on or around Mother’s Day, fingers crossed! Spring is only in our imaginations and in photographs! Just have to laugh!
Kristen Strong says
“Spring is only in our imaginations and in photographs!” ~ Don’t I know it! This made me laugh–thank you!
Beautiful message on hope, Kristen, thank-you for sharing with us this morning..
Blessings to all,
Becky Keife says
Trusting God isn’t a risk. Yes. In Him alone is our trust well-placed. Thanks for this encouragement today, Kristen.
Thank you for this writing today; it arrived in my inbox with such divinely appointed timing!
There are so many Christians on social media posting about our loss of freedoms with this pandemic. When I look at the events that occurred during the Spanish Flu, I feel like many are choosing fear over faith. Our nation has gone on to enjoy in excess of 100 years of freedoms since then, and I am choosing to believe we will again.
Regardless of whether I am right or wrong, our hope is in something much greater than earthly life after this pandemic. Our hope rests in our eternal life! Thank you for reminding all of us today – Hope has a name, and it is Jesus!
Bev Rihtarchik says
I, too, could imagine everything that could possibly go wrong — every worst case scenario and then plan around it so it wouldn’t happen. God gave us a brain to use, but He didn’t hand us control…big difference. It’s taken years of the most unexpected monkey wrenches being thrown into the cogs of life for me to realize God is in control and to remember He is always good — no matter what. This has shifted me from leaning not unto my own devices and understanding, but leaning, instead into Him and trusting He sees the bigger picture. I can now look back on my past and His faithfulness (not my outstanding planning) and it gives me hope for the future. When we look to Jesus, hope always gets the last word. Amen!
Leslie McCarthy says
At 66, I am finally learning this deeply. I can look back at my life and say sincerely, the Lord has NEVER failed me, not once. Even when I didn’t understand what was happening, a divorce I did not want, a prodigal, still “out there,” God’s hand can be seen. And this gives me hope for the present difficulties that I don’t see a way out of. He sees, He will care for us, we simply need to remain faithful. Thank you for what you shared.♥
Thank you for your truly encouraging words….and pointing me to the One who knows best. I love your verse at the end.
Thankyou for this. Reminding me of the Hope I have in Christ to move forward , after losing my Husband to Cancer a few months ago.
Adelaida Diaz Mendez says
Thank you so much for this, God bless
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Beth Williams says
It took one large unexpected trial to change my attitude. Putting my dad in geriatric psych hospital then having God work His miracle & healing him better than before. My faith & trust muscles were grown immensely. Now I readily trust God with everything. The pandemic, election bruhaha & civil unrest -none of that worries or fazes me. I know God is in control & He has allowed this to happen. I simply pray each day for everyone to stay healthy, for government to get God’s wisdom, for this country to have a revival & turn back to God. Asking God to end the civil unrest. Mostly just putting my trust in a living, loving God. He has all the answers.
Oh my! Kristen, as always God has used your post to encourage! This is exactly what I needed this very moment. We are trying to weigh the pros and cons of selling our home right now. It’s a crazy sellers market here in Texas so we may travel/live in our motor home a bit and wait the market out before buying another smaller home mortgage-free. This is super scary for me. I love the security of having a real brick and mortar home. Our current home has literally everything we’ve ever dreamed of having but unfortunately it’s not paid for and taxes super expensive. Anyway your article has helped to give me some perspective on it all. And by the way…prayers always appreciated 🙂