The Summer Soulstice
By John Hunt
The other day, my neighbor managed to stop me in my tracks as I walked the twenty feet from my air conditioned car to my air conditioned house. Entrapping me in the midst of a muggy summer day is, in and of itself, grounds for a lawsuit; but then he proceeds to commit the unpardonable faux pas of asking me the most inanely perplexing question of all time: "Hot enough for yaí?"
Now, I consider myself a man of average intelligence, capable of performing basic reasoning and rudimentary mathematical computations, but Iíve never quite been able to answer that question. No, I rather prefer when my flesh melts off my body and burst into flames, thank you.
Fortunately, I handled the situation with a tad more grace than that before dashing into the subzero indoor climate of my house. Before long, I glued myself to the weather channel to see what malady the next twenty-four hours would bring.
I confess, Iím a weather junkie. I catch the weather forecast everyday, several times a day. Each evening, as I head off to work a twelve-hour night shift, I watch the 5PM news, which includes the much-anticipated-if-not-vastly-overrated seven-day forecast. I listen to talk-radioís version of the same forecast on the way to work, and then, if Iím really lucky, catch the nightly weather foretelling there, too.
In the morning, I listen to another talk-radioís fictional account of the upcoming climate, grab a newspaper (with an entire page allegedly devoted to the dayís weather) and again peruse the Weather Channel in the hopes that somehow, the weathermen uncovered some pearl of prognostication overnight.
I have weatherchannel.com bookmarked on my computer, and I own a weather radio, which, sadly, fails to pick up a signal. If my wife would let me, Iím sure I would install one of those home weather stations (you know, the kind that monitors temperature, barometric pressure, and American Idol results) and spend our annual summer vacation "storm-chasing" tornados in Kansas Ė or at least watching someone else do it on TV.
Yep, on any given day, I faithfully endure all that sensory overload Ė while my wife and kids endure my fastidious meteorological obsession - only to discover that every single forecast is almost entirely wrong.
Jesus once said, "You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." (Matthew 16:3 NIV)
I marvel that in the two thousand plus years since Jesus spoke these words, technological advances only seem to marginally improve weather forecasting; and we, as spiritual meteorologists, often woefully misinterpret the signs.
The impetus to my meteorological preoccupation this time of year begins with the Summer Solstice on June 21st Ė the celestial event that ushers in the arrival of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The word solstice literally means, "standing still." Simply defined, itís the point at which the earthís axis stops tilting one way and begins to tilt the other way, while the sunís appearance in the sky "stands still" and ceases its gradual northerly or southerly ascent toward the respective poles.
This brings my relationship to God to mind. Sometimes, in the midst of my walk with Christ, I have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. I find myself pausing for grandiose events to reveal Godís will, while He longs to show me His infinite plan in everyday life.
I refer to my condition as a spiritual soulstice. If Iím not careful, I find myself "standing still," waiting for a sign of Godís direction, while He desires to use me in significant ways everyday. You see, we all encounter individuals and circumstances in which God can use us on a daily basis. Whether it be the financially-strapped widow living next door, the surly coworker whose life is riddled with pain, or the checkout clerk who is lost and in need of God, we run across these individuals every day. So while I wait for a sign Ė maybe a book deal or some chance encounter with an eager publisher Ė Iíve already missed it. Theyíre as plain as the approaching rain clouds.
I look toward the sky and grab my umbrella as I rush out the door. Invariably, Iíll need it Ė the meteorologist predicted another cloudless, sunny day. In any case, I already know the dayís forecast; itís one that faces us all each and every day:
80-90% chance Iíll meet someone in need.
100% chance Iíll come across someone who needs Jesus.
John Hunt is a freelance writer and professional amateur meteorologist living near the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. Sadly, he has never chased tornadoes in Kansas.
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