Shade

poolphotoOn Friday we got the baby pool. Nearly requisite for our son’s age (16 months), we thought we had a little more time… but forgot just how hot it gets, and how fast it gets hot! So far, it was a $9 investment well made. We’ve used it every day since we got it, and I have to admit that I had underestimated how nice it can be to put your feet in a baby pool.  I’ll confess that I’ve also thought how much nicer it would be to have some shade for the pool to sit beneath.

At 6:00 yesterday evening it was muggy and still hovering near 90 degrees. And as I sweated “poolside,” I was thankful for an obscure bit of scripture that came to mind… the prophet Isaiah, as he told of the Messiah’s coming, proclaimed the restoration of peace, purity and safety in Jerusalem. He told the people that the Lord would create a canopy of protection over his people.

“It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain” (Isaiah 4:6).

Be honest. Even on May 29th (much less July 29th!?!), what sounds more refreshing, more soothing, than a shade from heat and a shelter from storms? Is it any wonder that our predecessors so anticipated the coming of God’s anointed King?

We have it so very good- not just because of the invention of air conditioning and the affordable luxury of backyard baby pools, but also because we are recipients of the greatest gift of all time. We live with the joyous knowledge of Jesus Christ, who is the Messiah. He is Emmanuel- God with us- who, through his death and resurrection, provides us with a degree of protection and comfort that we can hardly even imagine. When we stop to realize it and when we do not, we live under the shade of the Living God.

As the psalmist sang, so we believe:

“The Lord is your keeper;  the Lord is your shade at your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Psalm 121:5-7).

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The Countdown

It’s my favorite question to ask this time of year: How many more days?

Teachers and students immediately know what I am asking them.

Whenever I ask, many teachers and most kids immediately blurt out an exact number. They are counting down the days remaining in the school year.

Last Sunday, I was greeting and hugging folks after worship and inquired of one young lady, “How many days?”

She answered, “Twenty days, not counting half days.” She looked rather solemn as she told me, “I’m gonna miss it — I like going to school and seeing my friends every day.”

How many times through the centuries have God’s people been called to worship with the Psalmist’s exclamation? “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Sometimes, when we count down days in anticipation, waiting for the next big or better thing to come along, we can overlook, even lose, the moment at hand.