Clearing the Air

Mark 4:37-41 says, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’ “

Several days ago, it was a temperate, low-humidity September day, I wondered why I didn’t need my sunglasses. Because the sun was definitely shining… (a puzzle). I later learned that the wildfire smoke from California had drifted eastward so much so that it smudged up the skies, reduced the brilliance of the sun, and added unusual coloration to our sunsets.

John Bacon, in a USA Today article, has recently reported that the West Coast fires have burned an area larger than the state of Connecticut. Sobering. Hard to imagine! But, this puts things into perspective.

Add this: drifting California smoke was high enough not to bother East Coast asthma-sufferers, but low enough to produce a cloudlike cover, subduing normal sunshine. Covid has been like those wildfires. A challenge the size of Connecticut! A subduer of normal sunshine! A squall that won’t die down. We mask-wearers long for breaths of clean, unobstructed air. Will it all clear someday?

On this same beautiful September day (2020), I sat around a table on a colonial town street, having a brown bag dinner with a group of lady friends. It was inspiring to see each other without the use of Zoom. In our new-normalizing, we enjoyed reflecting on the silver linings of Covid (yes there are some). I’d describe these silver linings as opportunities to do things differently. Outdoor dining has turned out to be a real treat. Using our patios and screen porches more at home is another. Not so much gas guzzling these days. Not many road trips. More walks and bike rides. Attention to things long forgotten due to busyness. Appreciating things previously taken for granted.

There is One true silver lining – the One who causes the wind and waves to obey Him. We need to clear the air…We need to remind ourselves of this timeless truth:

Matthew 6:26-30 says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you — you of little faith?”

Take off the masks on your heart and mind. Breath in the clean air of God’s Truth. Nothing happens apart from His control. The winds obey Him. Nothing is suffered that He doesn’t sift. The waves obey Him. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. Have faith. Clear the air. See the silver linings.