Living in a hot climate, one becomes accustomed to seeking out areas of cool shade. Retreat from the heat of the sun can be necessary on hot days. I learned this when I lived in southern California...”hot and dry” took on a whole new definition to this girl who was accustomed to the Pacific Northwest! Likewise, retreat from the pressures of day-to-day life can also require that we back up and find a cool spot to re-group and collect our peace and strength.
Trials come in all shapes and sizes, from minor irritations that try our patience, to devastating interruptions that threaten the continuation of our lives as we know them. Whether great or small, sorrow and struggle will come to all of us and will inevitably change us. There can be no light without darkness, no recognition of peace if there has never been war, and no healing so vastly appreciated as when it comes at the end of a season of great pain. Even the scorching sun is partly responsible for the refreshment of cool shade, as the shade could not exist were it not for the hot sun pushing us to find a cool place. The heat itself produces our refuge.
Everyone knows the age-old question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?". My answer has always been that the chicken came first because the Bible says that God created all the animals...not the embryonic beginnings of the animals that may or may not develop into animals. Then he told them to be fruitful and multiply...hence, the eggs. Similarly, without the sun existing first, there would be no need for nor opportunity for shade. Without challenges and trials, there would be no need for nor opportunity for resolution and peace. The question then, is not which came first. The question really is whether or not we are willing to embrace the existence of the one in order to experience the blessing of the other. We might even ask if we have such a choice because rarely are we in control of all of the circumstances that befall us. The sun rises every morning with absolutely no input from us, and challenges will come our way just as certainly as that sunrise.
In the meantime, we find ourselves chasing the shade.
"And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain." ~Isaiah 4:6