Summer Sanitorium

A missionary friend who has served for many years in Thailand informs me that there are three kinds of weather over there:  hot, hotter and perniciously hot.  This summer in Philadelphia has been (especially for this New Englander) perniciously hot, hotter and hotter still!  It will be a mercy, at least for the likes of me, when it is finally over.


My recourse has been several trips to Einstein-Montgomery Hospital, a climate-controlled, hermetically-sealed environment in which I could keep cool, especially in the catheterization labs that are kept at delightfully frigid temperatures.  Who needs the ministrations of a Caribbean beach when such bodily restoratives are but minutes away?


I have also immersed myself in Turner Classic Movies.  I am taken back, both to the pleasures of classic films and to a time of reminiscence when I discovered such celluloid gems, when I was younger and less susceptible to the ravages of mid-Atlantic humidity.  


Above all, I have found refreshment in the fresh stirrings of God within me.  It happens when one reckons with one’s mortality.  It also happens when one must hunker down, bunker-style, amidst a hostile equinox.  And it occurs when the Great Physician has prescribed a new course of spiritual vigor to be applied within such a summer sanitorium.


God brings refreshment to those who follow Him:  “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23.1-3).  He is the Great Redeemer and Refresher to those who look to Him.


God’s refreshment requires our repentance.  Bathers know the cleansing property of soap and water.  Repentant sinners know the value of the sin-cleansing blood of Christ.  The Bible instructs us to “”Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3.19).


Please know that such refreshment comes to us via His Word (the Bible) and His people (the Church).  We are taught that “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” (Psalm 19.7).  And we are shown the value of authentic Christians like Philemon, to whom these words were written: “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1.7).


We are unduly burdened these days, with the weather serving as a natural motif for such troublemakers as the economy, terroristic threat and the forthcoming election.  But take heart and be encouraged.  Jesus died for you, and longs to refresh you in His love.  Open a Bible (try the Psalms and John’s Gospel; for starters) and visit a local fellowship on Sunday that honors the Scriptures as authoritative (mine does; as do others).  And Heaven’s gentle and refreshing breeze will graciously do the rest. 


Bradley E. Lacey, Pastor

September 2016