May 29, 2012

Burning Up

It was a hot weekend in Virginia.

I mean really, really hot.

Truly the hottest days we've had so far this season.

And we spent them without air conditioning.

Our air conditioner went out on Friday and though a technician came to take a look at it, the part needed to repair it had to be ordered.  The cold, hard truth was we were going to have to endure the heat until the part came in and the air conditioner could be repaired and that would take at least five days.

Heat advisories and severe weather alerts were on the news and in my inbox warning people to stay indoors and stay cool, but how do you stay indoors and stay cool when it's hotter in your house than it is outside?  We raced to Home Depot and bought four fans to strategically place around our home.  We opened all the windows.  We drank a lot of iced tea and water and made smoothies.  We took ice cold showers.  We tried to have a positive attitude and find a bit of humor in our situation, but it's hard to laugh when you're burning up.

photo credits: new.eletewater.com

My mind drifted back to my freshman year at Auburn University in Alabama and my dorm that had no air conditioning.  Studying for finals that spring was miserable.  It's hard to concentrate when you're hot.  I remember several of us girls chipping in what little money we had and getting a hotel room so we could get some much needed, air-conditioned sleep.  I wondered if getting a hotel room might be a good idea even now.

I also remembered the summer I spent six weeks in Guyana, South America on a mission trip.  Wow.   I am not sure I can even describe that kind of heat, though I am sure I was close to being that hot this past weekend.

And then I found myself reflecting on the blog I've followed recently of a woman who went to Tanzania on a mission trip with Compassion.  Many of the Tanzanian people she encountered had very little, struggled at times just to survive and often did without the necessities of food, water and shelter.  (Air conditioning is not a necessity, I might add.)  She described meeting one young man whose home was a humble, small hut made of mud with a roof laced together of twigs and branches.  Inside, it had no windows, a dirt floor and a fire pit in the center for cooking.  Amazing that people really live like that, but more amazing is what the young man had painted on the outside of his hut...

"The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need."  Psalm 23:1

How sobering and convicting that this boy, who lives in such humble conditions, is completely confident in the fact that he has everything he needs.  He knows God will care for him.  He has nothing to fear, nothing to worry about.  He has all he needs and he's even proclaiming it in words on his beautiful, sacred, humble and holy, little mud hut.  Amazing.

I wonder, do we have that same kind of trust and confidence in God's provision?  Do we really and truly know that we have all we need?  Or do we worry and fret and scramble to attempt to meet our own needs instead of trusting Christ to meet them for us?

Going without air conditioning has been good for our family.  We have so much.  We have everything we need and then some.  It was good for us to do without, to be uncomfortable and restless and to recognize our complete inability to control not only our air conditioner, but everything else in our lives.  There is only one who can truly meet and satisfy our every need and that is Jesus.  We have everything and yet he is all we really need.

Five days later, I'm still burning up.  It's still hot and the air conditioner is still broken and it's eighty-eight degrees in my house with almost all the windows open and all the fans running on full force.  I'm still uncomfortable and still a bit restless.  But something has shifted in my heart through the suffering and my grasp on all I think I need has loosened.  Though the comfort of an air conditioned home has yet to come, I keep remembering these words and speaking them out loud...

"The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need."

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