| August is upon us.
Heat stifles our energy and saps our patience.
The fiery sun bears down relentlessly
and we scamper to shady places.
Great energies stir up hurricanes and tornadoes.
So much damage can occur from excess heat.
We long for cooler breezes that can awaken vitality again.
We enjoy quiet walks in the evening or even in the night.
In a cooler environment we come upon the paths we need to navigate.
The great energies of fire that have been awakened
over the spring and summer months,
which have promised hope and new life,
are now burning white hot and exploding upon us.
Just as we found in the “dead of winter” the need for warmth and fire,
now we need the cooling presence of water
to manage the forces that gather.
If we don’t find some relief,
we will be left with a desert landscape strewn
with skeletons and long lost dreams.
Fires can rage ruthlessly,
burning up all the wonderful things that have been created.
Hot winds carry fires toward untold destruction.
So much heat can become dangerous.
As with all great ideas and imaginations
that have been touched with fire,
there comes a time to cool down and gather oneself.
If we don’t allow this tempering process, we remain brittle.
Brittleness brings narrow-minded ideas, a certain narcissism, and paranoia.
Brittleness can bring self-protectionism, defensiveness, a rush to decisions,
and an arrogance of rightness.
Fires reveal our weaknesses of character.
Fires have a way of exposing the side of our humanity
that is not always pleasing to see.
We easily become shattered when we don’t get our way.
When heat is the most intense, dross comes to the top.
Impurities rise to the surface
of any great idea or imagination we might entertain.
And hopefully, we have those skilled blacksmiths that can gather
the dross and purify the material that is in the furnace of fire.
“But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire and launderers ‘soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver;
that they may offer to the Lord
an offering in righteousness” (Malachi 3:2-3).
We may sense all these themes at this time of year.
Hopefully the dross within us will rise
to the surface and be cleansed away.
Hopefully what is brittle will become
strengthened and matured through tempering.
Hopefully we will find some shade and cool water
along our paths to refresh us.
“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand” (Ps.
“He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into water
springs” (Ps. 107:35).
“who through faith…quenched the violence of fire…out of weakness
were made strong, became valiant in battle….” (Hebrews 11:33-34).
“You have been a shelter for me” (Ps. 61:3).