Since Keith has retired we sit on the carport nearly every morning with a final cup of coffee, talking and tossing treats to Chloe, watching the hummingbirds dogfight, listen to the squeaky whine of titmice fussing over the feeders, counting blooms on the Mexican petunias, and trying to decide if the clouds bode well or ill for the day. Even in the summer, we enjoy our time, but in the summer one thing changes—the quiet of the country becomes the roar of the big shop fan. That fan makes it comfortable enough, as it blows away the gnats and mosquitoes, and turns the early morning humidity into a cool breeze instead of a heavy and suffocating blanket.
As a born and bred Florida girl, fans were a large part of my childhood. We did not have air conditioning until I was a teenager, and central air did not come along until Keith and I had been married three years. Not that it wasn’t invented, but it had not yet reached our income level.
I remember summer afternoons at my grandmother’s house, sitting on the porch under the shade of oaks and chinaberries, listening to the soft whir and tick-tick-tick-tick as her old oscillating fan swept back and forth across us, evaporating the sheen of sweat and cooling us in the process. That fan felt wonderful. In an air conditioned world, I doubt many but my generation have known that feeling.
This morning I came across Genesis 3:8 and saw a margin note I had never noticed before.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…
Did you know that word “cool” can also be translated “wind” or “breath?” God created everything, including the cooling effects of wind and, thus, an evening breeze to cool of His earth. So the perfect garden must have become a bit warm during the “heat of the day.” Surely God had already created the ability to perspire, as well, since that is essential to the function of the body. Man, as he worked in the garden (Gen 2:15), must have become warm and must have sweated. Then God sent the evening breezes to cool him off. It wasn’t until after he sinned that the work became difficult and the heat and the sweat became intolerable, just as it wasn’t until after then that conception, which I view as the whole of the female condition, became painful.
You can find that word again in Prov 17:27: He who spares his words has knowledge, and he that is of a cool spirit has understanding. “Spirit” is “wind” is “cool.” So now I have fans and breezes and dispositions in my mind, and it all came out this way:
If I have a hot nature, I need the cooling effects of the Spirit, and what better way than to read the word he “breathed” to cool me off?
Many of us are foolish enough to put ourselves in situations where we know we will be tempted to anger, where we know we will be pushed and prodded and even shoved right in its path. Why?! We tell our children to avoid situations of temptation. We tell them it’s downright stupid to go certain places and not expect trouble. But we sometimes even contrive them, almost as if to flaunt our freedom to do so. Then we shout out, “That shouldn’t have been so hard,” as we fall, flailing our arms for some sort of lifeline that isn’t there. We decided we didn’t need it.
This might be more motivating: Not only can God cool us, but with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked, Isa 11:4. One word seems to say it from every angle, just as the old oscillating fan hit from every angle. Cool yourself off with the Word of God, and don’t go near the torrid zones.
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city, Prov 16:32.
Good sense makes one slow to anger… Prov 19:11.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools, Eccl 7:9.