Arise, sad heart; if thou do not withstand,
Christ’s resurrection thine may be:
Do not by hanging down break from the hand,
Which as it riseth, raiseth thee.
~ George Herbert, “The Dawning”
My husband and I are arguing over the saying for March: is it in like a lion, out like a lamb, or the other way around? Ice on the windshield this morning, and by noon, sunshine on the back porch.
For us, it was February that came in like a lion, bringing pain and fear. We lost a baby we very much wanted, and less than a week later, there was a heart-wrenching crisis in the life of a loved one. I had been praying for trust, for the Lord to teach me how to lean on Him, and in the weeks that followed, I learned.
Faith challenges us to give thanks even for the difficult times, to see and to seek God through any kind of weather, to feel pain and anger and reach both hands out for Him. Faith challenges us to offer up questions, yet it doesn’t promise answers. Faith is its own answer.
As it turns out, my husband is right: In like a lion, out like a lamb. He is quietly triumphant in his small victory over the writer in the house, and I’m stubborn enough to keep riffling through internet pages for confirmation of my version.
Like the fickle month it describes, the saying itself has a history of change. It started out as a generalization, then morphed into a predictor that could be applied either way: If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion. It’s a nice theory of balance, but it breaks down in practice, especially in these days of climate destabilization and super storms.
Because the reality of spring—the reality of resurrection—is both. Christ is both lamb and lion. So is spring. So is trust.
I know God didn’t cause this pain, but I know He is working in it. It is uncomfortable to give thanks in the midst of grief. It goes against a lifetime of habit. I can’t do it, so I pray weakly and ask God to do the rest. He does. Love keeps breaking me open, and the bulbs we planted in fall keep pushing their way through the ice.