I’m sitting on the balcony wearing a sleeveless summery top and denim shorts. The hills, palm trees and sailing boats contribute to the delightful scenery from our holiday apartment. I watch people as they stroll along the promenade beside the beach and it’s amazing to observe who are the tourists and who are the locals.
It’s April in Majorca – a stark change from the wet and cold conditions still dominating the British Isles. It’s warm and sunny, but only the start of spring on this holiday resort.
There’s a woman crossing the road wearing a coat and winter scarf. It’s inching towards 20 degrees and I chuckle to myself. She’s obviously Spanish; she won’t be ditching the coat till it’s a couple of degrees warmer. The Brits are easy to spot; they’re wearing very little. Starved of sunshine and warmth after a brutally cold, long winter, they’re quick to strip off the layers and soak in the sunshine. Having left behind temps barely hitting 5 degrees for so long, 20 degrees feels blissfully hot.
So why the difference in attire? Most will recognise immediately that it’s all a question of acclimatisation. The Spanish are used to the Majorcan sun – it’s nothing special or unusual to them. They don’t feel a desperate need to catch a bit of a tan; they know they’ll be plenty more sun on its way. The thermometer will likely reach 35 or 40 in a few weeks and, for now, 20 is just pleasant, if not still slightly cool to them. Admittedly, even we have felt rather cold indoors in the evenings since we arrived.
This got me thinking about my faith – whether I’ve grown accustomed to the spiritual climate around me, such that I’m happy to walk around burdened by layers of stuff, rather than appreciate the newness of each day’s sunshine. Could I possibly be looking for opportunities to strip off some unnecessary layers such as legalism or spiritual striving, and simply enjoy basking in the presence of the Son? Or will I continue to take His presence for granted some days, knowing that He always promises to walk beside me?
Perhaps I’m so settled in my spiritual climate that I don’t even notice that things have changed? Has my love for God grown cold or predictable? Maybe I need to shed my coat of mediocrity and my scarf of smug satisfaction and revel in the warm glow of Christ’s grace once again, stripped of the cumbersome layers of obligations and concerns. I’m often so busy trying to achieve in my Christian walk that I neglect the simplicity of enjoying Christ and relaxing in his presence.
Just as the Spanish might take the sun for granted, it’s so easy to start taking the Son’s presence for granted. Whilst I hope that’s not true for me, I’m aware that I often don’t really make the most of revelling and delighting in him daily. I’ll never know when I may next be led to walk through a valley or dark shadow. Life has shown me those dark days will come.
I should brim over with the goodness and spiritual warmth he pours out on me today. What a wonder to experience his light and tangible warmth! God is good.