Often when I meet people, I’ll ask, “Where are you from?” When people tell me they are from places like Idaho, Utah, or Montana, my response is “Welcome to the land of heat and humidity.”
I grew up in Florida, so I am no stranger to heat and humidity. But Sumter has a unique combination. There is no 4 PM thunderstorm like there was in Florida to cool things down. Our days start “tolerable,” as the old timers say, but the temperature climbs like an oven switched on broil. On our hot days, you can step outside at 8:30 – in the morning or evening – and the heat will take your breath.
When I work out in the yard on these broiler days, I sweat clean through my shirt – Smith family trait. I honor the folks who have to work outside in the heat. I see them at the corner store loading up on Gatorade and water and I think “Bless you brother, bless you.” And like the Pharisee of old, I pray a selfish prayer: “Thank you Father that I have an inside job.”
That’s why these past couple of days have been amazing gifts. The high temperature has been in the mid-80’s. The morning air carries just a touch of fall. Evenings are cool gifts, calling you to sit outside away from talking electronic boxes. The heat of day has a gentle warmth, not the intensity of a blast furnace. I’ve heard over and over, “I love this weather.”
A quick check of the forecast says we are headed back to the 90’s by the weekend. We’ll back to our regular daily scorching. We’ve had a hint of fall, but it’s not here yet.
Heaven is going to be an amazing place. Everything will center on Jesus. We will be amazed at who He is, and He will be at the center of our thoughts and feelings. That’s why there will be no more pain, no more crying, no more mourning – this blast furnace of daily life will be gone.
God’s people gathered – the church – is Heaven’s preview. Now we don’t always get it right. In fact, a lot of times we don’t get it right. But when we do – when we focus on Jesus; when we are selfless; when we serve the poor; when we lift up people who carry heavy loads – we catch the hints of heaven.
My prayer for our church is when people come to us, they catch the hint of heaven. We won’t always get it right, but when we do – we are like a cool breeze for troubled souls.