This morning I awoke to an unexpected gift: a gentle rain and 40-degree weather.
Pike’s Peak, the dominating feature of our city’s landscape, was nowhere to be found. Like children tucked under the bed sheets in a game of hide-and-seek, Pike’s was tucked away under the cover of a low-lying fog.
This may not sound like a big deal to most people, but for one living in the drought-stricken high desert of nearly 7,000 feet, rain is always received with great joy. Water is never taken for granted.
The shift in weather had me pondering a common thread of human existence: difficulty, hardship, suffering, pain.
One of the unique features of being a pastor is walking so regularly and so closely with people through the sweltering “summers” of trial and hardship. Praying with people as they grieve the loss of the family business. Mourning the unexpected death of a child. Listening to a daughter who has lived for 10 years under the cruelty of an abusive father.
I’ve witnessed plenty “summers” of deep sadness.
And then, at some mysterious moment in time, I’ve noticed people in grief get up one morning and walk outside to find that there’s something of a reprieve from the heat of hardship, like that first morning when Fall barometrically announces it’s arrival. There’s a crispness in the air, a fresh wind blowing, a Presence that would have us know that there is newness coming. A Voice announcing, It will not always be this way.
And that’s what I found this morning when I woke up—an announcement: it will not always be this way. There is newness on the horizon.
Fall arrives every year as a rebuke to Summer’s unremitting desire to scorch. Fall serves an eviction notice to something that is good, but only good for a season. “To everything there is a season”, cries Qohelet.
God in the weather. God in the changing seasons. God escorting out the heat that, if left unchecked, gets unbearable. God telling good stories about his faithful love in the earth’s yearly dance around the sun. God gracing and kissing the ground with water again. God brooding over the foggy mountains. God blowing in the trade winds.
It will not always be this way, says our Lord the Spirit to all those who are crushed in spirit.
So we pray today for those running through the scorching Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese deserts…a reprieve from the frantic running-for-your-life existence you’ve known. It will not always be this way.
We pray today for those wracked by the Ebola virus…a shift in the winds, a healing of the land. It will not always be this way.
We pray for the elderly who are in pain and waiting to enter into their long-awaited rest…a fresh watering. The Spirit is moving in with the clouds to brood over your lives. It will not always be this way.
We pray for the orphans on the run through the Burmese hillsides…may you find green pastures, quiet waters, and restoration for your souls. It will not always be this way.
We pray these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, who came to announce to a fractured world, It will not always be this way.