Bev and I spent the last couple weeks on vacation.  Two weeks ago we were in Bullhead City, AZ with good friends, hanging around the Colorado River – we had a boat!  It was at the beginning of the heat wave that the country experienced.  The normal temperature for Bullhead City at this time of year is 112F.  The temperature on Thursday was 116F.  We were on our way home on Friday, when it was 122F.

We came home in time to spend the weekend in Elko and right after church on Sunday we started for Lynnwood, WA to see our kids/grandkids.  This was the second half of the heat wave and our kids could not help talking about how hot it was going to be.  Projected temperatures were for the low 90s.  Bev and I just laughed.  We did hang around the pool (no boat) and we had fun.

I did not talk to many locals in Bullhead, but the few I did talk to really did not mention the heat, except to ask me how I (not a local) liked it.  Everyone I talked with in the Greater Seattle area complained about the heat.  Are the north westerners just wimps?  Or are the south westerners a sturdier people?  The answer to both is no.  It is a question of what they have gotten used to.  Folks in the dessert (Las Vegas, Bullhead City, Hell, etc.) expect it to be hot.  When it gets REALLY hot, it is just more of the same.  People who live in the Northwest are not used to temperatures in the 90s.  I remember living in Hawaii, if it got into the 60s we would “freeze.”

Suffering and anxiety are handled the same way.  Some people have experienced more “heat” than others.  They have a tendency to handle the stress better than other people.  Perhaps it is because those who have suffered much have also had the opportunity to see God at work in their lives.  They have seen God come through, they have experienced coming out on the other side.  This gives them a perspective that can only come from experience.  I cringe when I hear someone quote Romans 8:28 to another person who is going through a tough time:

28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (ESV)

I absolutely believe this to be true; but telling someone who is going through some trial in their lives is just not helpful.  I would remind all of us that the Bible also tells us to “…weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15.  One last verse:

1  We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2 (ESV)

It is a delicate balancing act, and I don’t always get it right, but with God’s help I get closer each day.