Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Heat Wave!

This summer’s heat has been unbelievable! As I write this we’ve already had 38 days of 100 degree or hotter temperatures, with no relief in sight. Surprisingly, many of those 38 days have been 105 or hotter, even three days of 111! And we still have another seven weeks of summer. Even in air conditioned homes and cars, we sweat, praying for an end to the heat.
This morning I ventured outside to walk in the shade of the nature trails. Evidence of the heat-stressed outdoors surrounded me. Thousands of dry yellow leaves littered the sandy path. All around me, as usual, the grasses waved in the breeze. Rather than their usual forest green, however, the grass looked brown and brittle, as if it had already been bitten by autumn’s frost. As I reached the bridge over the Cowskin Creek, I saw how the heat has eaten up this little creek. I watched it flow silently and sluggishly, a mere third of its normal size.

Returning home, I ventured into our little garden. The heat has taken its toll here as well. Even though we soak the ground with water, the plants looked wilted and stressed. Tomato plants filled with blossoms refused to set on fruit in this heat. We hope for a fall harvest—when and if it ever cools enough for tomatoes to grow.

We’ve given up on watering the lawn, leaving it to go dormant. The grass crunched beneath my feet as I walked back to the house, praying the yard wouldn’t die. Large cracks break up the soil’s surface as it begs for water. I prayed for God’s mercy, for a respite from the heat, and for life-giving rain.

A scripture pops into my head: “If my people, who are called by my name…” I call myself a Christian, so I guess this verse speaks to me and to other believers. “…Will humble themselves and pray….” Hmm…this sounds to me like God is calling me proud. I have to think about his one. What are the ways I exhibit pride? I’d better quiz myself.

1. Do I…(sometimes, usually, always) rely on my own abilities rather than God? Guilty.

2. Do I…(sometimes, usually, always) think I’m better than those “sinners” out there? Ouch! Guilty.

3. Do I…(sometimes, usually, always) neglect my quiet time with God? Guilty.

4. Do I…(sometimes, usually, always) spend most of my prayer time talking to God rather than listening? Once again, guilty.

The verse continues “…and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways….” Typically, Christians don’t think of themselves as “wicked,” but it sure seems God is saying that about those of us who are “called by His name.” Thanks for opening my eyes, Lord, and help me spend more time in Your word and in prayer. Show me the path where you want me to walk.

Okay, how does the rest of the verse go? “Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” II Chronicles 7:14. So, this is one of those if…then verses. If I become humble, seek God and pray to Him, He will hear my prayers, forgive my sins, and heal my land? Well, I know the land needs healing. It needs cooler temperatures and refreshing rain, for sure. And yes, I need healing as well. I need humility and forgiveness. I need the refreshing rain of God’s Spirit to fall on me and heal my soul.

Thank You, Father for your healing touch, on the land and in my life.

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