Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.” Psalm 121:5-6

     I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to laugh or cry as we read the above verses last week from Psalm 121. It is my earnest hope that I can say that last Sunday was the HOTTEST Sunday of the year (because that would mean the rest is downhill from here).

Laugh or cry, you have to appreciate the irony about proclaiming God’s protection from the sun striking us when the very act of walking outside from a temperature-controlled space feels like the heat slapping you right in the face. Sometimes passages like these seem to lose their meaning at times like this, where the reality of our lives fails to reflect what the scripture appears to be telling us.

The Psalms, however, are not meant to be instructive like a textbook, but rather like a book of poetry. Poetry is meant to convey emotion, not commandment, and in the case of Psalm 121 the feeling being communicated is one of being cared for. The Psalmist begins with a question: “I lift my eyes up to the hills – from where will my help come?” What follows is the answer: “My help comes from the Lord.”

Often we forget that answer when trouble arises in our lives. When the heat or the work or the family dysfunction piles on, we look for help from every corner we can find, every place we can touch, except for God. God, it seems these days, is almost always our last resort, the last place we look for help.

When I was growing up, my dad commuted to work over an hour away. So every day he had two hours of drive time all by himself. I always assumed he filled those long drives with music (which I am sure he did quite a bit), but he also told me later that he spent a lot of time praying. That shocked me, so I asked what he prayed about. He told me that he used the time to pray for the world and for other people, but never for himself. He said he figured others needed God’s help more than he did.

While that is true, and while I appreciate the value of interceding on behalf of others, its important that we remember to look to God for our help, too. God is big enough to hear our intercession for the world and for our own needs and concerns. Our God is a personal God, a God who works both on the global and local scale. Remember that. God wants to hear from you, and God is always there to help in times of trouble and in times of peace.

Praying to beat the heat,

Pastor Mike

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