by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

For many, spring brings change, new beginnings and growth. For some, the anticipation of spring means a spring break vacation and a bout of spring fever.

One dictionary defines “spring fever” as a feeling of restlessness, excitement or laziness brought on by the coming of spring. Symptoms often include a shovel, new plants and green thumbs or a compulsive desire to fish or anything else that gets them outdoors.

In years long past, with spring came the beginning of my marriage and a couple of years later, the beginning of our family. But this year, my feelings about springtime are somewhat ambivalent.

My strong cravings for a spring break are more about a desire to escape and avoid than about fun and adventure. This is probably because some foreseeable changes in the future are not ones I’m looking forward to or want.

For awhile now, I’ve been trying to break free from the dreary forecast for our country that feels like a constant dark cloud hovering overhead.

And I’ve become determined to exchange my fearful anticipation of a difficult future for a brighter outlook. Interestingly enough, I’ve gained some fresh and encouraging inspiration by considering some of the synonyms for “anticipate.” As with most words, “anticipate” has a few variations to its meaning. The group of words that caught my attention include: “nullify, prevent, preclude, forestall, intercept, beat to the draw and get the jump on.”

The idea that it may be possible to “get the jump on” worries or fears is truly reassuring and emboldening. To “get a jump on” means we do something before it happens in order to get an advantage. For me, this means I don’t have to sit around and wait or dread. I’m not at the mercy of an uncertain future. And I’m not helpless. There is something to be done that can prevent and nullify what I’ve been expecting and thinking of as inevitable. At the very least, I can be more prepared and ready to handle whatever comes my way.

In the days of the Old West, the cowboy who beat his opponent to the draw won the fight. I want to be like this cowboy! So how can I prevent or rise above what feels like an unavoidable sea of troubles?

Worry and fear for the future always prophesies disaster. But is disaster bound to happen — inescapable, ordained or destined? Not according to the promises God gives us.

The Bible is filled with God’s promises to His children, along with countless examples of people being saved from whatever obstacle or pending doom they faced. Daniel found safety in the lion’s den, young David was victorious over the giant Goliath, Joseph saved the lives of his brothers regardless of their jealousy and betrayal and Jesus saved his disciples from a storm at sea as well as healing multitudes of the sick. And consider these promises: “The Lord will take away from thee all sickness.” (Deut. 7:15) “The Lord will not forsake his people.” (Isa. 12:22) “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Psalms 29:11) “The Lord shall be thy confidence; and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” (Prov. 3:26) “The Lord is patient toward you. He does not want anyone to be destroyed.” (II Pet. 3:9)

God’s promises are giving me the divine impetus I need to resist uneasy speculations and calm my fears about the future. I’m learning to not accept any verdict that would have me believe God doesn’t love and care for His children. My faith is more confident of God’s ever-present help today and every day.

After all, tomorrow starts from today. Our prayers today surely have a transforming effect on tomorrow. Uplifted and reassured by God’s power, my dread this spring is being replaced with hope. I think it’s time to plant some flowers!