Tom and I are living in northern Arizona for the summer. We knew when we signed up that it would be hot here, and it is. In the last two months, the temperature has been over 90 almost every day. June was very hot with quite a few days over 100. Because we work most of the day outside, we really feel those hot days and we seek out every bit of shade we can find.
Isaiah says that God is “a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” (Isaiah 25:4). Working in the bright sunshine of an Arizona summer gives new meaning to those words. It is easily 20 degrees cooler in the shade than it is in the sunshine. The shade is a relief, a place I can breath deeply. After a while of sitting in the shade, I can head back into the sunshine again.
God is our shade from the heat. We might feel heat because high temperatures in the summer. Or we might feel heat from people at our jobs. We might feel heat from a spouse pushing us to do something we don’t want to do. Staying within legal or moral boundaries sometimes puts the heat on us. The heat can wear us out. Resting in God’s presence can refresh us, cool us down, keep us from being a hothead, give us relief.
So, how do we allow God to be our shade? Take time to read his word. Find a quiet place to pray. Sit in the shade beside a pool of water or a river or the ocean. Take a step back from the world and watch from the shadows for a little while. Let it go.
When we do these things we find that God can be the cool and shady spot that gives us relief and comfort. If we let God stay with us through every moment of our day, we find we have a shady spot to rest when we need it, and the energy to resume our work in the sun.