by Dale Reeves
As I began writing this on Tuesday of this week, summer officially began at 5:14 am this morning. It is also the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day the Earth tilts toward the Sun at its maximum during its orbit, which means that the Sun appears at its highest elevation. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year, and it signifies the arrival of winter. The high temperature in our city today is going to be 93°, reaching a heat index near 100°. Hope you were able to either get outside and cool off in the water somewhere or enjoy the AC inside.
We’ve already been blessed with two weeks of very high temperatures, and we are just now getting into summer? Meanwhile, several National Parks out west haven’t been able to fully open due to unseasonably late snowfalls and major flooding. I’m so glad that my wife and I got to experience Yellowstone National Park last fall since some who were planning a family vacation there this summer have had to postpone their trips.
How is your summer going so far? Have you been able to take any trips with your family, go to some ball games, enjoy a family reunion, picnic, bike, or hike? Maybe you’ve just been able to chill with some downtime at home after a long year of school with your kids. And perhaps you’ve gotten to experience some of these things that Olaf the snowman sings about “In Summer”:
“A drink in my hand,
[My snow] up against the burning sand,
Prob’ly getting gorgeously tanned in summer . . .
Relaxing in the summer sun.”
Changing Weather, a Constant God
People in the midwest often joke about the weather around here. They say if you don’t like it, don’t worry, stick around, and it will change. It’s amazing how much time we spend talking about the weather with people, isn’t it? It’s an easy topic to discuss with someone with whom we might not have much in common. Sometimes when we experience this kind of heat, and maybe have to endure some of it without our AC unit working, we say, “I’ll never complain when the snow and ice hit here next January.” And, of course, when January comes around and we’re done with the slick roads, icy driveways, cold and flu season, we say, “You won’t hear me complaining about the heat next July!”
The good news today is that we can be assured that even though the weather may be fickle, and it
may not cooperate with the plans you’ve made, you can know that we have a God who really is in control. Pastor and author A. W. Tozer said,
“While it looks like things are out of control, behind the scenes there is a God who has not surrendered his authority.”
I find it increasingly difficult to watch the evening news, as everything prior to the sports news seems to be nothing but negative reports concerning all the shootings, arrests, court cases, house fires, economic woes, and ongoing chaos in our city, nation, and world. One horrific story after another describing the state of our fallen world. Some nights you try to go to sleep and wonder where this will all end. If you’ve read the end of the Book, you already know the outcome. Someday God will say, “That’s enough!” as he carries out his plan to vanquish all evil and take those who belong to Christ to their heavenly home. And, talk about some weather of biblical proportions that will accompany this. The Bible says that peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, earthquakes, huge hailstones and stars falling from the sky will herald the end of the world as we know it and the second coming of Christ. The sun will turn black, and the moon will turn blood red, as stars in the sky fall to the Earth, and the sky will recede like a scroll (Revelation 6:12-14). OK, so, maybe the weather this week isn’t so bad after all.
The Sun and the Son
In his longest sermon recorded in the Gospels, Jesus said, “He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV). All of the human race, no matter what hemisphere they’re living in, will experience the blessings and challenges that come with our weather. Natural disasters happen, but not because God isn’t a good God. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it brought a natural consequence to the earth. As sin is still our main problem on the planet, we live in a fallen world in which natural disasters simply take place. These events remind us that this world of sin, hate, and tragedy will not last forever. Some days are just cloudy, some days are nonstop rain, some days are scorching hot, and some days are magnificently beautiful—but they all come from the same God who showers his constant compassion and kindness on us.
The psalmist challenges us to “Kiss the Son” (Psalm 2:12, ESV). To kiss a ruler in Bible times was an act of submission and allegiance to a king. We thank God for his daily provisions and the Sun or rain he sends our way, and we recognize that the way to the Father is through giving our allegiance to Jesus our Lord (John 14:6). The last book of the Bible, Revelation, tells us that in Heaven there will be no need for the Sun, “for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23, NIV). It’s difficult to imagine a place where there will be no Sun, isn’t it? So, as you go outside today to soak up some of that Sun, thank God for his many blessings—including the Sun that we get to enjoy in the summer, the relationship you have with Him, and His Son Jesus.