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By the time you read what I’ve written here, another storm will have come and maybe even gone. And yet another storm may be heading in our direction. Hurricane season is upon us, and we must be prepared for whatever might appear on the horizon.
Recently, Dr. Charles Stanley preached about the storms in our lives — and he let us know that they will occur for all of us. The storms might not be bad weather of any kind, but also can be health problems, financial loss, job loss, death, persecution, and suffering of all kinds. Some of these storms occur more frequently as we get older, maybe to help us let go of this world more easily.
Did any of us think that becoming a Christian would keep us from having such storms in our lives? Not so, the Bible tells us. For example, in John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We don’t have to read very far into the accounts of the disciples to see the kinds of tribulation they experienced. The Apostle Paul bore the brunt of such troubles because he set out on his journeys to bring the news of Christ to the world around him. In his letters to his churches, he doesn’t dwell on these problems, but in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, he lets his readers know about the beatings, stoning, hunger, sleeplessness, perils and imprisonment he experienced for the cause of Christ.
Indeed, I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have lived in that day without all the conveniences of modern civilization we enjoy today. But we as humans still go through the other tragedies of life.
Yet, through it all, God is with us — and as Charles Stanley said, He might even be using these experiences to help us grow. So, it’ll be OK, friends. It’ll be OK.
Recently I wrote about the hot town of New Straitsville, Ohio. Lest I get in hot water, I need to clarify that the mine fires were set by miners who were unhappy that pro-union folks had called a strike. But they didn’t intend for the fires to keep burning, so my main point still holds.
On the way to New Straitsville, husband John and I spent a couple of nights in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, where we soaked in a spa. We’d anticipated a hot time of it, but to our dismay, the waters were just lukewarm. Evidently, we were spoiled by our dip in Hot Springs, Virginia a few years back.
Have you noticed that “hot” is a relative term? That is, what some people consider hot, others consider comfortable. Case in point, John and I later in our trip relaxed under a park shelter in Magnolia, Ohio, participating in a Crowe family reunion. The Ohio Crowe clan kept complaining about how hot it was there, but the breeze made it pleasant for me. After all, I was used to stepping out of our house into what felt like an oven.
I think about how hot it must have been in Jesus’ day in the lands where he lived. Surely they wore thinner robes in the summer than they wore in the winter. But nowhere in scripture do we read of someone saying, “Boy, it’s hot as heck today.”
But the Bible does talk about the word “hot” as meaning “very excited about something.” Even today we talk about people as being “on fire for the Lord.” Jesus warned us that he’d rather us be hot or cold than lukewarm in our Christian walk (Revelation 3:15).
These days we also talk about “hot” as being spicy in taste. Even M&Ms candy now has a jalapeno version. I spit too-hot things out of my mouth, which is what Jesus said he wanted to do with lukewarm Christians (Revelation 3:16).
Are we hot? It’s a good state as far as Jesus is concerned!
Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife. Her devotional column could not be printed last week due to space limitations, so last week’s installment appears here beneath this week’s column.