No matter where I have lived, people have always complained about the weather. It’s too rainy or too dry, too hot or too cold. No one seems to be content with their climate. I always say, “Wait six months and we’ll be wishing for what we have now.” But I know even as I say our fickle ways with the weather only bring a modicum of relief.
That thought has been on my mind these last couple of weeks as even I have moaned and groaned over the heat and humidity. If it were still the August “dog days,” I’d be more understanding, but September is a time when we anticipate getting a little bit of relief.
So, what is a person to do? That question actually focuses our attention on the things that are under control, which the weather is not. We decide to drink more liquids, avoid the heat of the day, seek out a bit of shade, crank up the thermostat on the air conditioning, or a host of other strategies we might implement. The point is that we do what we can do and then we trust God with the big picture.
Recently, however, an increasing number in the community of faith have begun considering more aspects of our present circumstances that very well may be under our control. For example, we can reduce our use of plastics as much as possible, opting for recyclables that have less impact on our planet. We can choose forms of transportation that result in less harmful emissions and we can eat more wisely and use fewer resources (and better ones to boot). At the very least, we can acknowledge that we have a problem here on earth and God has given us the responsibility of addressing what we can and trusting Him with the rest.
This matter began weighing on me a bit more after attending a lecture at Samford earlier in the week by the renowned theologian, N.T. Wright, an Anglican scholar from England, who has written much on our Christian hope of “a new heaven and a new earth.” Wright’s lecture connected that hope with a natural theology (one in which God is revealed through the created order), which is brought together through His ultimate revelation in the person of Jesus Christ. Not to oversimplify Wright’s profoundly intellectual approach, but I went away holding in my heart a new appreciation for a cherished belief – that “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son.” In other words, instead of seeing this world as something that can be easily discarded or used up (since we’re not planning on staying here anyway), we should actually cherish it as God does, to the point of bringing His Kingdom purposes to bear on this earth through the many ways in which we live for Jesus. Only then will God’s love reign supreme over everything and everyone and the stage be set for the consummation of all things that the book of Revelation promises. That one tweak in our theology, from our seeking to escape the world to our investment in it, puts us in a place where God might work through us “to make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
The alternative, after all, is not a pleasant one; in fact, it is far worse than we can imagine. But through it all God is in control and His invitation is for us to join Him in this most wonderful work of redemption, one that encompasses all of creation, in which “the creation (that) was subjected to futility…will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20-21).
“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in (Christ), and through him to reconcile all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:19-20).