Today will be another hot day. After a brief respite in which the temperatures dropped into the low nineties with a few scattered clouds, we are expecting triple digit temperatures for the next couple of days. I am not used to this sort of weather. I don't actually hate it, but it requires adjustments that I am unfamiliar with. For one, it is really impossible to exercise during the midday heat. It is hard to do anything in the midday heat. As a result it makes sense to rest in the afternoon and shift your active hours to later at night. This is quite common among Greeks and friends from the middle East. Greece has a version of siesta from 3-5 pm which they call "Quiet Hours." It is considered quite rude to be loud during this time. I haven't fully embraced this lifestyle change, but I do go to bed later.
Another change in my life has been the way that I look at shade. When choosing a course on the street, shade is a factor. I will alter my path to find a few moments of shade. This morning, I was sitting on our rooftop reading the bible and I realized that I felt hot in the shade with a slight breeze blowing. I thought, "Dang, I can't imagine having to sit in the sun right now."
This has given me new insight into some biblical passages. In my morning reading, (Hosea 4), God speaks of Israel's unfaithfulness and their desire to offer sacrifices under the shade of every spreading tree. This is turn caused me to think of one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 121. It reads in part, "The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night."
The contrast between God's shade and the false refuge of idolatry is particularly vivid when I consider the importance of shade on a steaming day. The question is not shade or sun, but rather... in the sweltering heat, where do you find shade?
The Lord is our keeper. Our Lord is a refuge.