Summertime is a little easier on most of us. Even if we have to work fulltime- there’s more sunlight and we tend to do pleasurable things in the evenings and on the weekends. This may be a bit different in the year of COVID, but to some extent the rules of summer still apply. This is also the time of year that newspapers and magazines publish those lists of books we should read during the summer. World magazine usually has a whole section on summer reading. I confess that most of those lists just give me a guilty conscience. I read one of the lists once and went down to the library looking for one of the titles. It happens there was a waiting list – so I put my name on the list. When I got the book, I was bored with it. I kept trying, but I just couldn’t get through it. I ended up returning it, half read, and late.
I have a little list for all of us today, that really shouldn’t cause much guilt – and in fact could be just what we need – spiritually – to recharge our batteries. I want to look at these four items just briefly.
1. Spend time with real friends.
Make time to get together with people that you like; people you trust; people who are good for you; people who won’t spend all their time complaining and being negative. (We all spend enough time with them, don’t we?). READ Galatians 6:2. The Apostle Paul tells us to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the laws of Christ.” He wasn’t just talking about physical burdens. In this trying period, especially, may carry emotional, psychological, grief-related burdens.
So, besides, having time together to relax – you can consider this a summer project – to share burdens with others of like faith and general worldview. Remember always that sharing and burden bearing go both ways. Building a relationship with someone means being able to share your own burdens, too! In order to share burdens, you need to get to know one another; learn to trust one another. For some of us that’s a difficult thing. But God wants us to be brothers and sisters – not in the way we learned at home; not in the sense of sibling rivalries and all the other unhealthy behaviors we may have learned – but in the sense of God’s family. He wants us to love and trust one another – and bear one another’s burdens. That’s what brothers and sisters are for.
2. Spend time in prayer.
READ Phil. 4:4-7. God cares about us. He wants to hear from us. It doesn’t have to be a special kind of prayer you learned in church. Just a conversation w/ God. And it doesn’t always have to be asking for something – just a “check-in” is good!
Is this some kind of magic wand? No. But God wants us to have what’s good for us. Sometimes he even answers us in a way much better than we had hoped. When I lived on Grand Cayman, our water came from a cistern in the back yard. We had no other source of water. When drought hit our part of the island, the cistern got very low. We could see rain fall on other parts of the island. But not ours. The situation was getting desperate. We prayed for rain but none came our way. One day a water truck pulled up and the driver asked if this was the minister’s house. Then he proceeded to fill our cistern to overflowing. God had taken care of us and didn’t need our direction as to how.
3. Spend some time reading the Bible.
Besides being very instructive, the Bible can be very comforting. Here are just a couple of my favorite passages for when things aren’t going exactly the way I instructed God they should be going: Psalm 27:1; Psalm 62:1-2.
A few years back a friend of ours called –sort of out of the blue – and shared a verse with me that she had read that morning. It was a great comfort to her (READ Is. 46:3-4). You know, I found it comforting, too, to realize – again – that God isn’t going to forget about me just because I’m getting older. Just because I’m not the warrior I might have been a few years ago, I’m not less valuable to Him. AND this is not from just some nice book of parables and folk wisdom this comes straight from God’s Word!
4. Spend a little time w/ Jesus.
If you haven’t already – turn to Jesus for the best comfort you can get. READ Matthew 11:28-30.
Enjoy what you can of the summer. You won’t be going it alone.