The boards on our front porch have taken a beating from the sun and rain. The western side, in particular, gets the worst of it. The steady eye of the sun draws them in and up, while the rain water pushes them down and away. In the end, the sun has the final word. The boards eventually lift from the flooring and crack with crooked smiles. Time and weather have taken what they were and made them what they are.
A similar phenomenon occurs with our faith. There is no Christian whose belief in God has not been weathered. We are creatures in the world. Simply walking through a day will give us exposure to the elements of doubt and delight, perversity and passion, grief and gratitude. Our souls always have weather to walk through.
What’s interesting to me is that we can so easily be unaware of the spiritual weather. No one needs to tell you to bring an umbrella with you when it rains; you note the weather and prepare accordingly. But we don’t tend to do this with spiritual matters, do we? For instance, when a storm of doubt seems headed your way, when you know your basic beliefs will be challenged by someone or something, do you pray? Do you prepare for what’s ahead or do you just keep walking as if there were no spiritual weather? Perhaps you just forget about it until after the fact? You look back on an episode and think, “I really didn’t see that coming.” (That’s like taking out your umbrella after walking through a downpour.) Or what about when you’re about to sit under the word of God on a Sunday morning, yet you feel lifeless and directionless. Do you pray for passion and vitality before taking your seat, and do you look for these things in your Sunday morning, expecting the God of weather to send life and light your way? Or do you simply go to church, ignoring the spiritual weather?
All of us struggle with this. We treat the arena of spiritual warfare as almost illusory. We would never say such a thing, of course, but our actions betray our perspectives. All too often, we act as if there really isn’t such a thing as spiritual weather, as spiritual warfare. Instead, we live as if we are just here.
Well, you’re not just here, and neither am I. Our lives take place in the context of spiritual weather just as much as they do in the context of physical weather. The question is never if there will be weather. The question is what kind of weather will I experience today? You might even pause right now and check the spiritual weather on the spot, just as you do for the physical weather with your smart phone. But the only device capable of making you alert to spiritual weather is the word of God. If you want to know what spiritual weather you might hit today, you don’t need to open an app; you need to open your Bible and start reading. I have no doubt that the Spirit will give you what you need to hear today, and that this will help you prepare for whatever spiritual weather is headed in your direction.