Page 163 seemed to have all the signs of summer built into it. The temperature outside made it well into the mid-90’s with a blazing hot sun all day long. MJ returned to helping my mom on Saturday mornings so Susan and I resumed our summertime Saturday morning zoo visits. When we first arrived, there was a gentle breeze and it hadn’t gotten unbearably hot yet so most of the animals were visible and fairly active. By the time we left, many of them were looking for cool places out of sight or had resorted to stretching out to take nap. While playful at the beginning of our visit, three of the four tigers had disappeared into their home while the fourth one was stretched out in the enclosure snoozing away.
After our dad and daughter zoo trip we came home and I fired up the pellet the next step of our summer Saturday routine — bacon mushroom cheeseburgers hot off the pellet grill for lunch! After lunch, we all decided to follow the good example of the tiger and snoozed a while. Eventually we got up and headed to Sam’s Club to get some groceries and replace a dehumidifier that was no longer working. I’ll soon finish writing today’s page and then go live a little more of it as I’ll go in to work tonight to do a final refreshing of the building before the Sunday worship gathering tomorrow.
As I type, I realize that my arms are sore from my kayak outing yesterday. It had been a long time since I had taken it on the river and my arms wasn’t used to the nearly constant paddling. I started downstream but was headed against the wind so I wasn’t getting very far unless I paddled. Coming back to my truck I had the wind behind me to help but I was still paddling against the current. Yesterday’s workout may have contributed to my need for a restful afternoon. I think sometimes we expect the Christian journey to be easier than what it is. We anticipate it is all downstream and once we are in Christ we can just coast to our destination. It doesn’t take long until we realize coasting isn’t getting us anywhere. As a matter of fact, coasting may be causing us to lose ground at times. God calls for us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”, not because we can actually do any work to make it happen but because it is work to resist temptation and stand firm against the evil one. Yes, there are times when it will at least feel like less work than at other times but it is important that we are always ready to be involved in the good work that God created in advance for us to do. The more we align ourselves with the work God has created and called us to do, the more enjoyable the work becomes.
As we go about the work God has for us to do, it is also important to understand how facing the heat of temptation can wear us down more quickly than at times when temptations are not so aggressive. Just as the heat of summer can quickly wear down our bodies, the heat of spiritual warfare creates in us a need to be refreshed through times of rest and communion with God. One of my favorite verses, and I have many, says, “Be still and know that I am God!” With life running a hundred miles an hour around us, it is often a difficult thing to find times of stillness and solitude. Scripture tells us that Jesus would often go to “lonely places” in order to escape the crowds and spend time with His Father. Perhaps we would do well to define, and find, “lonely places” where we could do the same.
I pray that you and I would understand the work involved on a daily basis as we seek to stay on the path that leads to eternal life. I pray that we would not grow weary in doing the good work God has called us to. I pray that we would make times of stillness and solitude a priority in our lives.