An April 2016 Testimony

Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet and a Light Unto my Path Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

Here is an old cliché, “April showers bring May flowers.” Why is it that we must first endure the rain before embracing the beautiful flowers—or—why does the synchronized spectrum of a rainbow appear so colorfully brilliant in the sky only once the rain has ended?

Life is like that. The book of Isaiah, chapter 61, verses 1–3 (emphasis on verse 3) describes this dichotomy as follows: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (NIV).

This contrasting depiction of life and proclamation is “good news” according to the Word of God. Recall the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, sometimes the rain must fall, but afterward, a pearl of great glory.

We in the Washington metropolitan area have experienced an abundance of rain lately. I hear many people saying or lamenting, when is the sun going to come out . . . where is the sunshine? Well guess what, it’s on the way. If we can hang on until the dawn, we will witness the rising sun . . . the clearing of the clouds . . . a brand new day.

The National Association of American Veterans, Inc. welcomes you to a new month as we share with you a month that has passed. This might not be our typical rendition of “April Testimonies,” but this IS, yet, an “April Testimony.”

You might not have received all you wanted in April, like the floral smell of crisp spring mornings, blades of wet grass popping up ready to blanket the yards of many, or perhaps the confirmation that spring really is just around the corner. But what you did do was witness the passing of an old month with the expectation of a new . . . anticipation of flowers and yearning for the sun. The realization that, well, it wasn’t too bad, because you seek the unpredictable tomorrow, while thinking to yourself, “perhaps it will be a better day?” Clinging to desire . . .

But what if it isn’t a better day? What if you lose your job or a child, or a spouse, a friend, a set of keys, an idea, maybe a sock, or something else you consider worthy of feeling and hurting over its loss? What happens to the cliché you once believed? We find ourselves left amid the fade . . .

Here is what Langston Hughes supposed in his profound poetic writing “Dream Deferred:”

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

April showers might not always bring May flowers. Instead, the showers might simply turn into a continuous downpour of rain, delaying the flowers and other plans of beauty and elation we had hoped or even longed for. The rain as we see it may eventually be the death of our annual tulips or planted garden, or the mere source of their delay.

On the other hand, those April and May rain showers that have graced our landscape lately turn into the source of lush lawns, the replenishment of a moisture-deprived tree, the filling of a well or rising water levels of a drying-up pond, and maybe the suppression of an onslaught of allergies.

The April showers might not have given birth to May flowers, but at least the entertaining and hope of flowers more, or time spent indoors communing with family members, with our children, or a decision to pay a hospital visit to an ailing person, or they might drive us to a deeper commitment and opportunity to sense the Heavenly Father’s spirit and comfort us in a time of weariness and need.

Whatever the April showers have been to you, I hope that you are able to see past what’s coming down and look beyond the deference, the usual, and the familiar to what else it could be or what else it has been into bigger sea of mature perspective—real life . . . “beauty instead of ashes, strength exchanged for fears, joy in place of mourning, and the culmination of peace from despair.”

So look out and cheer up, for the next season’s forecast is calling for SUMMER!

NAAV honors and appreciates your support, time, donations, and prayers as we strive to improve the lives of our American Veterans, military servicemen and servicewomen, and their family members. Thank you for joining us on this pathway as we balance life, love, hope, faith, and charity.

Kindly submitted on behalf of NAAV, Inc.

An April 2016 Testimony
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