We keep watching the weather for hurricanes, but we also watch it for that first cold front. If it comes too early, it will only be a day or two before the 90s in both temperature and humidity reappear, but at least we get a taste of the fall to come. Here in Florida it is a big deal when the smothering blanket of heat finally lifts after five full months of sweltering, wondering if your makeup will melt before you get into the air conditioned building, trying to find a parking place in the shade so you can bear to sit on the seat and hold the steering wheel when you return, planning your shower around the last time during the day you think you will wind up looking like a dog caught in the rain. Either that or take two or three showers a day.
Then we anxiously keep an eye out in October. Every single day, sometimes two or three times a day, we look at the forecast. It's been known to change from hour to hour in these parts, we say, excusing our obsessive clicking on the NOAA forecast.
We begin looking at our sweaters, planning which to wear next Tuesday, assuming that front comes before then. We paw through the pantry stacking up the tea bags, international coffees, and hot chocolate packets leftover from last year when, in our overconfident glee, we bought way too much. We split some fat lighter for fire starters and set them beside the fire pit along with a fresh stack of firewood. We split another bucketful to sit next to the back door for the wood stove inside. We comb the grocery ads, looking for specials on chili beans and saltines, stew beef and vegetables, and that head of cabbage that we learned long ago was absolutely necessary for an excellent pot of minestrone.
Yes, we get anxious down in these parts. Maybe they do in other places too, but the Deep South has little enough cold, and Florida even less. So we cherish it when it does come, and sigh when the winter is far too warm or leaves too quickly. Yet even then, that first cold front is received with gratefulness and a huge sigh of relief. The long hot summer is finally over.
And that got me to thinking. Is that the way we wait for the Lord? We may not have a forecast to watch, not even a Farmer's Almanac. But are we as anxious for this long hot trial we call life to be over as we are for the summer to disappear? Do we watch for the Lord's return with impatience even, praying as John did, "Lord, come quickly?" (Rev 22:20)
If you have been observant at all about this world, you can see where things are going. It's about to become a harsh place for Christians. We may soon, even in this country, be persecuted for our beliefs to the point of losing our possessions, our jobs, even our freedom. I worry what my children, and especially my grandchildren will have to deal with. Right now, the only relief I can see is the Lord coming to put an end to it all.
If you are young, I know that you want to experience all the things we older folks have—a wedding day, a career, carrying a child and raising it, even seeing your grandchildren. And perhaps we older folks have failed in teaching you to long for his return as we do. After all, we wanted to live longer at your age too. We wanted to do all those things our parents had done—and do it better, we were sure.
So please, as you age, try to teach your children what we may have failed to teach you. Even if the world does not go in the direction I suspect it will, even if it becomes a wonderful place to live after all, it still cannot match the world to come, the one we should be hoping for and praying for every single day.
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2Cor 5:1-5)