(This week I’m including the original song “Water Into Wine” to accompany the blog. Enjoy!)

A few short weeks ago the trees in our front yard looked like lifeless sticks whose branches stiffly moved in the wind, as the frigid air punctuated the feeling of gloom that the browns and grays of winter produced.

This morning I looked out to see the same trees alive with color, effortlessly dancing in the spring breeze. The crab tree in the corner of our yard appeared like a bride adorned in white, with flowers that exuded a sweet perfume. The fresh, warm air of morning was filled with sounds of cardinals, finches, robins, and chickadees proclaiming new life. Winter has finally given way to spring. The trees and birds that waited through and endured the winter are now rewarded with a fresh beginning.

God revels in bringing things to life, including—and especially—people. He can do this in an instant, but more often He does it over time.

Like the trees of winter, God can turn ordinary things into extraordinary ones. He simply asks that we persevere with and in Him, and remember that His spring will come into our live and circumstances.

The first earthly miracle of Jesus is recorded in the second chapter of the Gospel of John. In this account Jesus, His family, and friends were attending a wedding feast in the town of Cana. It’s important to note that wedding receptions in Jesus’ day could last up to 7 days, and were attended by scores of people! Anyway, someone underestimated the size of the crowd and their thirst, and soon the wine for the wedding reception was gone.  After being asked, Jesus took six huge water jugs filled with water— ordinary water designated for hand washing only—and miraculously turned it into wine.  The wine was so good that the wedding coordinator asked why this, the best wine, wasn’t served first.

A few years ago someone reminded me that God still turns water into wine today, even though He chooses to take a little more time through the miracle of grape growth, harvesting, and fermentation. Wine growers often “stress” the grapes while they are growing, in order to produce a better, more flavorful grape harvest. This typically involves a grape “drop” during the growth season. The result are healthier, better grapes.

All of us have challenges in our lives, some more severe and painful than others.  Some can seem like an unending winter that leaves us feeling like lifeless sticks, stiffly moving through the winds of life.  I know of many people pressing on through stressful, difficult times.

•    Our grandson continues to fight through health issues as our son and daughter-in-law persevere through the challenges of caregiving, doctors’ appointments, and more.

•    Some dear friends persevere through job uncertainty, chemotherapy, and financial burdens.

•    Good churches I know are struggling with transitions and change, seeking God in their lives and their fellowship.

My wife and I are also in the midst of a stressful transition right now, waiting for our house to sell and searching for temporary housing in the interim period. In the middle of this uncertainty, God calls me to trust and hang on to Him and continue to wait for His answers in the scope of His timing, not mine.

God is not only able but also willing to transform our ordinary lives, difficult circumstances, and seemingly unending times of waiting into something extraordinary.  In order to produce something better in us God sometimes allows us to go through difficult seasons—but never alone! Just as Jesus turned water into wine, He also turns the “ordinary” of our lives into “extraordinary” through His divine touch. This can happen in an instant, but more often God chooses to do this over time. When we have experienced His touch, worshippers of Almighty God blossom like trees in springtime, spreading the sweet perfume of His grace that has been manifested through and beyond the difficult times and challenges of our lives.

It’s my experience that staying close to Jesus, continually asking Him, and then waiting for His miraculous intervention is the best route to experiencing spring in the harsh winter seasons of our lives.

God bless you!

Chris Atkins