Sustenance for The Spirit
Growing up in West Texas, a person learns to deal with wide variations in weather. Although winters are mostly colder and summers are mostly hotter, at any point in the year temperatures can vary to the extremes, wind can go from calm to gale force and precipitation can unexpectedly break a drought in a deluge, all within a span of a few hours.
Wind is something I never enjoyed or understood. It was a constant “force” in the area I spent my childhood, and daily average windspeeds could easily destroy the most rigidly hairsprayed “do.” To me, wind was just very inconvenient and although the benefits to our ecosystem were explained to me more than once, I really didn’t grasp any upside. It was a nuisance, but I learned to cope because it was the “norm” I lived with daily.
In the summers I accepted the heat in much the same way, and now I would have to admit that dealing with the excessive heat of July and August has become my weather bane. I have a hard time seeing any positive slant to triple digit temperatures. It forces outdoor activity, even sitting on the porch, to be extremely uncomfortable. We all learn to deal with it with ice and cold drinks and thankfully, indoor air conditioning, but it’s difficult to see any real benefit to that kind of heat.
But lately, I’ve had this feeling that in 2020, we need the heat. There are theories that the UV rays from the sun may help slow down the Corona Virus we know as COVID-19. I’m not going to pretend to be a scientist because I would do a very poor job, and anyone can do some research online to learn more about the theories and studies being done. It appears that scientifically, it can’t be proven that the triple digit heat will eradicate the virus, but it is possible and even probable that heat can affect the virus negatively, which is a plus for humanity and health. My personal “theory” has evolved as a result. Could it be a positive for this exhaustive, ongoing and challenging heat we are experiencing? God works in ways we will never understand, and I’m beginning to feel that this could be another prime example. We will know more in the coming weeks as school begins again and people resume more group and in-person events, but I am hopeful, and probably for the first time I can remember, super grateful for the hot, humid, miserable heat.
Weather events are not new faith testers. Jesus’ experience with some disciples on a boat in a storm comes to mind. Jesus had to be awakened from quite a sound sleep, so he could rebuke the winds and the sea, which resulted in “a great calm” (Matthew 8:23–27). Another frightening weather experience occurred in Acts 27 when Paul, as a prisoner, was on a ship headed to Rome. A huge storm erupts.
Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. (verses 13–15)
The story continues with things being thrown overboard, and hoisting and supporting the ship by undergirding, and other nautical maneuvers I don’t really understand. But I do understand the desperation. The storm was so bad that “neither sun nor stars appeared for many days.” (verse 20, NIV) According to the text, the storm lasted at least fourteen days, and amazingly, all 276 on board lived to tell the story. Paul spoke to the crew during the turmoil, when things appeared rather hopeless, to say that he knew God would get them to safety because Paul had to “stand before Caesar.” (An angel had paid a visit to Paul personally that “very night.”) Paul continues to say, “So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” (Acts 27:25–26, NIV) After that, Paul worked with the sailors, who were very willing to listen, and they did indeed run aground on Malta, safely. Not a single life was lost. Perhaps the storm actually saved them. God’s power through Paul was certainly instrumental in the lives of 276 people on a storm-tossed ship, especially when they put their faith in the God whose power could have stopped the storm, but instead provided them a safe journey through the storm.
For us in 2020, there are still a lot of unknowns regarding the heat, the weather, the virus and the future. But, right now I am more grateful for triple digit heat than I ever have been. It gives me hope. I feel like it is one way that God is wrapping his arms around me through this storm. Bring on the heat, and let’s continue to pray for safety through the storm. Let’s “take heart” in knowing that in the unknown God is working through His Spirit and His people for His good, which is all that really matters. So grab a glass of iced tea, thank God in prayer for the heat, and have a wonderful day!