Growing up in Wisconsin, I have seen my share of snow. I believe we are prepared mentally and emotionally for snow in a way that others are not. We are undaunted when we open our front door and see that our cars are invisible because the snow is so high. We bundle up our kids without hesitation and send them into subzero weather as long as they have their coat, gloves, hat and a good scarf.
We clear the shelves of the supermarket, stack firewood, make sure that all of our phones are charged and we are fully prepared … sometimes joyfully accepting the possibility of being trapped by blizzards, gusting winds, sleet and snow too heavy to be shoveled by hand.
I have see Wisconsinites go out of their way to shovel for the elderly, push cars out of slick spots and throw sand and kitty litter to stabilize tires spinning without progress. In some ways, we are much kinder when it snows. We find ways to help the stranded motorist, provide shelter to the homeless and a jump to the person down the hall whose car battery gave up the ghost overnight.
Yet there is something about the heat that can change our very disposition. As soon as it gets hot, I have noticed that we get a bit grumpier. The rise in ill tempers coincides with the rise in temperatures. People who checked on snowed-in elderly during the winter may be too afraid of intruders to even open their windows to get fresh air during the summer.
Heat can make us tired, unable to focus and unwilling to hold unnecessary conversation as we run from air-conditioned space to air-conditioned space.
Heat will make us risk our hairstyles for a dip in a pool, be silly and run through a sprinkler or show our toes, flaws and all in an effort to stay cool. Heat makes us change our plans and leave early or work late after the sun has stopped it’s beating.
Yet in all of the heat, do we stop to realize that hell is even hotter than this? The truth of the matter: as hot as these days have been, we have no ability to truly conceptualize the depth of heat radiating through hell on any given day. Furthermore, I do not believe we have any real desire to have a firsthand encounter with hell.
None of us will have to find out firsthand if the expression “hot as hell” is accurate if we make a decision to accept the gift of salvation paid for on the cross by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The book of Matthew provides an excellent reference to the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Christ and if you have never been introduced to the Savior this book makes a wonderful introduction. This week, when you are hot and your children or grandchildren are near you complaining about how unbearable the heat is, gently remind yourself and them that you all haven’t even seen hot – and you don’t want to!