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Just breathe — He is with you

As the summer heat spikes into the 100s around the country, I recall the term the “dog-days of summer.” 

In ancient times, it was thought that Sirius (the dog star), which is on the morning horizon at this time of year, added heat to the day. The impact of this star on our seasons has been refuted, but the name stuck. Growing up, I thought the name was because the dog hid under the porch!

Certainly it is hot. The heat advisories and our bodies warn us to plan ahead, know our limits and avoid getting overheated. Keep it simple: drink plenty of water, stay in the shade, do only what must be done. 

Sometimes we get overheated in other ways. We get overwhelmed by life. We feel overrun by demands at work, with bills to pay or the events of the day. 

We get steamed and upset with other people. We all get tired, we all get weary, we all can reach a point of exhaustion. 

The prophet Isaiah (Isa 40:30) said no matter how fit, strong or smart we are, even the best among us will become exhausted (watch the upcoming Olympics for a reminder of this one.) 

In his own day, Isaiah encouraged the people to wait upon the Lord, who would renew their strength.

Across the ages, people of faith have learned the way to face what overwhelms us is to look to God, breathe deep of God’s Spirit, and let the Lord be our strength. 

To maintain our cool, as it were, in the face of life’s hot-spots, it is important to stay grounded in God and gracious with others. 

Many of us grew up learning the “Golden Rule” which reminded us to love others the way we want to be loved. Some people have worn bracelets or other items with “WWJD?” to think about “what would Jesus do?” 

Regardless of what happened, or what others did, Jesus was a ray of light and hope, of love and grace to others — not because it was easy, but because that is who God is.

You might also try this simple prayer. Close your eyes, and just breathe. As you breathe in, pray “God of Love. …”  As you breathe out, pray “…teach me to love.” 

Catch your breath and remember, the heat won’t last. God’s love will. 

REV. MICHAEL KENDALL is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. His email address is mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.