I remember when Julie told me about an incident which took place in one of her classes at Marshall. Someone in class mentioned, "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight." Julie said, "That's in the Bible."
Her professor replied, "I don't think so. You're wrong."
Julie told me that was the last time she said anything in that class. I guess her professor never read Matthew 16 and most certainly not James 3:1.
If most of you are like me — and that is not to be taken as an insult — weather is on your mind. I've lived in such places as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and West Virginia and never experienced such winter storms as we're having right now. Of course, we had a blizzard or two, but they were short lived, tolerable and few suffered as so many have suffered lately.
You may or may not agree with scientific research, but it seems that global warming is creating changing weather patterns in such a way that what we are now experiencing maybe something of a future commonplace. Al Roker is probably dancing in front of the green screen.
I'd like the prognosticators to say, "Here's what we will most likely have to expect, and here's how to prepare and survive." Since Mexico is out of the question for most of us, the snowbirds — as we former Floridians used to call them — just might be looking to relocate anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
I have no clever segue into the story, so here goes. A few years ago when we lived in Sarasota, Julie and I happened to be walking in the giant mall close to our house and some vacationers — easily spotted by their pinkish skin tones and "I'm With Stupid" T-shirts — looked our way and asked, "What do you people do when it rains all day? We've been here for two weeks and it's been pouring the whole daggnab (a euphemism) time."
I really had to bite my tongue and Julie gave me a short but effective elbow to the ribs just in case. I wanted to reply, "Well, Pilgrim ..., Now, Sonny Jim ..., Lookie here, you Yankee scumbag ..." Feeling my sore ribcage, I looked at them very politely.
"I know you folks came down here, spent a lot of money and want to walk our beaches and go back home where you can show off your tans to your less fortunate friends. Here's what we do. We go to the mall, just like today. We have one great library with some of the best books about Florida living you can find. We have some of the best seafood restaurants anywhere. There's the Mote Marine Observatory, where they study sharks and you can even get hands-on interaction with sea life. We have P.T. Barnum's extraordinary home and circus museum to tour ... and, there's nothing like walking the beach in your swimsuits while it's pouring down rain! Let me tell you this, have one great time and take lots of pictures!"
I have always wondered, when I read Matthew chapters 5-7 what might have been going on in their minds when Jesus sat to teach the crowds. By the way, I see Him at Capernaum, near the top of the hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It's a natural amphitheater and He could have been heard by everyone. Were the people uncomfortable, tired, hungry, curious and maybe a bit anxious? Was it uncomfortably hot that day, was it overcast, dry, dusty? Not once did Jesus apologize for the weather or the seating arrangements. He began by stating, "You folks are truly blessed!"
The crowd must have listened with amazement (Matthew tells us they were astonished) when He closed His teaching with, "If you heard what I have been saying, take My message to heart, and begin living with My teaching as your guide. It will be as though you have built a house that will last a lifetime!"
Every day in God's world is like a vacation: new things to see and experience, wonderful people to meet and greet, surprises around every corner. If it rains, I open my umbrella. If it's cold, I slip on a sweater. There are always a lot of choices to make: I choose life, optimism, hope, possibility and can't wait to find out what happens next.