Reflecting on the weather

Is my comfortable, SoCal existence disconnecting me from the plight of the world?

On a warm Saturday morning a few weeks ago while I was washing my car, my neighbor stepped out of her house. After returning my greeting, she looked up to the sky, breathed a heavy sigh and said, “Finally, some nice weather.” Having lived my first four decades in the upper Midwest, I swallowed back a bit of incredulity and managed to say something in the affirmative. Even as I did so, I was scrambling to identify when we had not been having nice weather. From my Minnesotan perspective, I was at a loss — I know a bit of what the rest of the nation endured these past months. If my neighbor’s myopic lens had included the inclement realities of genuine winter, she would never have made that comment.

But, as I rinsed the suds off my car, she prodded me into thinking; a couple of convicting reflections were in the offing.

The first was this: Is my comfortable, SoCal existence disconnecting me from the plight of the world?

Might the myopia that I found distasteful in my neighbor also be true of me? Whether it be political oppression, poverty, disease, injustice, religious persecution or ignorance of the gospel, so much of the world’s population endures a daily routine that is totally unlike mine. And yet, is my myopia laid bare through my lethargic prayers for the advancement of the mission, my narcissistic stewardship of my wealth and my heart that is too often devoid of thankfulness? What would happen if I frequently sought information about the “weather” others are experiencing around the world? How might my compassion and concern be catalyzed if I lived, persistently captivated by the pursuing grace of the Son of Man who came to seek and to save the lost?

My second thought went in a slightly different direction: Is my comfortable SoCal existence disconnecting me from the hope of the future?

It seemed to me that the weather here in SoCal is so balmy that I should never be dissatisfied and yearning for anything nicer. Having been so blessed, it appeared entirely inappropriate to look forward to the increased warmth of spring.

But is it never appropriate to stubbornly crave something better?

Could it be that my insulated and comfortable existence has sated my hunger for what is yet to come — the glorious restoration of all things in the Kingdom? Is my contentment with the present blessings of life in the relatively mild “climate” of the west numbing any yearning for the far greater warmth of the knowledge of the Lord filling the earth? Are the momentary sunny days of this age deflecting my anticipation of the blazing glory of the one yet to come?

Or, is persistent dissatisfaction with the present order of things impelling me to a life that foreshadows the Kingdom — so that others might catch a glimpse of the “forecast”?

In the end, I realized these thoughts were two sides of the same coin. So I breathed a prayer that the Spirit would continue to convict me through my neighbor’s comment … so that I would do more than simply wipe down my car and forget about the weather.

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