Eighty-ish days of slow summer-bliss come to an end this morning for most kids in my part of the world. Yellow school buses and silver mini-vans roll through clogged, first-day drop-off lines, rushing to arrive before the 8:00 a.m. bell. Vacation officially ends. Another summer has flown past.
Time marches on, dressed in her back-to-school finest.
And the moms and dads I know mostly feel apprehension at the loads of homework and school-year rush now looming on the horizon. Lazy days of strawberry pickin’ and sunflower gazing and meandered-through hours of leisure abruptly end with the jarring sound of the early-morning alarm clock.
But there’s an upside.
Because for many of us, the trap we set for ourselves as we flee toward summer fun-satiation leads not to true rest, but to depletion — to a lethargy caused by glutting on the wrong food. Summer days of leisure lead to distance from the Word and worship. The lust for a care-free couple of months ends in shallowness and powerlessness — in a drift from the Lord.
Every season is God’s season. But summer has its special power.
Jesus Christ is refreshing, but flight from Him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer, and neglect the Word. But then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.
Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute …
If your summer began with a thirst for leisure and you now find your soul parched because of too many Sundays away from God’s people, and too many days preoccupied with trifles, and a growing love of the world’s substitutes, repent and return!
‘Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’ (Acts 3:19). Repentance is not just turning away from sin, but also turning toward the Lord with hearts open and expectant and submissive.
Return to the lover of your soul. Cry out for mercy! For, oh shriveled soul, you may have fallen for the lie that freedom could be found in a summer filled with substitutes, but His love alone rests your soul.
(excerpts from: Setting Our Minds on Things Above in Summer, Taste & See article, John Piper, August 3, 2005)