The outside air felt cool and pleasant this morning for the first time several days as we Northwesterners are getting some relief from the record-breaking heat wave. As the first one up in our family, I quickly opened every window and door this morning so the refreshing breeze could flush the stuffy heat out of our house. The freshness of the morning felt like a hug and I was so happy just to breathe it in.
I wonder how long it will last? The gratitude, I mean, not the temperatures. For the last few days, residents without air conditioning struggled to sleep in the oppressive heat. Many businesses limited their hours or shut down altogether due to the heat. Others had to work in the dangerous conditions. My heart went out to local farmers as I surveyed my furnace-ravaged plants and shriveled berries. But now we have some relief. (Did you ever think mid-90s would be a relief?!) How quickly we can forget our desperate need.
I’m sure this hot stretch will be yet another bit of fuel for the global warming debate. But while that discussion is certainly important, my mind goes to the catastrophic warming spoken of in Scripture that makes all others irrelevant by comparison. One portion of God’s just wrath on the sin of the world is described this way:
“The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” (Revelation 16:8-9)
Awful. It isn’t the heat in this verse that shocks me, but the heart response. Mankind claims ownership of the world God made and then curses him for acting like he owns the place. No guilt or remorse. Just raging angst. Compare this nightmare with the heavenly alternative.
“Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:15–17)
What a contrast with the hearts of bitter rebellion! Jesus is the Lamb who was slain to pay for our sin. Jesus is the good shepherd who leads us to springs of living water. Jesus is our shield from the scorching sun, our healer, provider and protector. The cool air this morning is delicious, but these truths are my true delight.