This is the kind of weather that Chaz Glagolich of C-Devil fame says is the lie that convinces us that we can handle one more winter. If you haven’t been outside enjoying it, you’re either ill or getting ready to move south.
Today, my dogs are all stove up and resting, because I just had to get away for an hour yesterday and enjoy the weather. They ran through the spruce forests and splashed in the spray of the surf in the sand. By the time my little one got back to the car to go home, she could barely walk. She’s getting up in years now, but she knows that sometimes you just have to get out and dance.
She was dancing like she was much younger yesterday. She’s feeling every one of those years today, but if I were to take the time to go out again — which my schedule just won’t permit — she would be right back in the running mode. It is so easy to enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds us when the weather is so great. It’ll be a lot tougher nine months from now when the days are cold and dark.
As I said a few weeks ago, what is true in the physical world mirrors a truth in the spiritual. When everything seems to be going our way, every situation seems bright and sunny. It is easy to be joyful and lift our prayers of thanks. But when things begin to go wrong, as we know they will, it gets tough to remember that the same God who gave us the sunshine brings the wind and the rain. The same God who lifts up the sun in the morning sky of summer draws back the curtain of night in the depths of winter.
In the splendor of summer, the disciples of Jesus had spent three years learning at his feet. Then winter came crashing down in the garden of Gethsemane as Jesus was arrested, beaten, mocked and crucified. The disciples went into hiding. Mary brought them the good news that he had risen, and then he appeared to them on more than one occasion. But the chill of winter had not yet let go. Like the ice and snow that still remains around us in the shadows, they could not feel the warmth of the sun and the purpose for all that had happened. It was time for another lesson.
Seven of the disciples decided to go back to what they knew and went fishing, but they couldn’t catch anything. Sometimes as I read of that story in the 21st chapter of John, I wonder if it was because their heart wasn’t in it anymore. They had been filled with a higher purpose and suddenly everything that they had known and loved before meeting Jesus didn’t quite measure up anymore.
When Jesus appeared on the shore and instructed them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat their nets were so full that they couldn’t even get them in the boat, but even success at what they had known before couldn’t match the joy of being with Jesus again. Peter jumped in the water and ran to Jesus. After a quick breakfast of fish and a reminder of their purpose, Jesus said simply, “Follow me.”
Let us bask in the sun and enjoy the moment while it is here, but let us never forget that we, too, have a higher purpose. Jesus has a plan for us all. Our joy cannot be complete until we choose to follow him.