Why is a front porch swing so enticing and relaxing? Is it the rhythmic swaying back and forth? The opportunity to greet neighbors as they pass by? A swing certainly offers an ideal place for appreciating and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood – children playing, birds chirping, dogs barking in the distance, and a cat purring as she cuddles next to you.
Relaxing into the rhythm of the swing with a glass of iced tea in hand, I’m alone with my cat, my thoughts, and a blue jay chattering about as the black squirrel scurries from branch to branch in search of dinner. The sky is brilliant, blue, and cloudless. Regardless of what my day or the news contained, right now, right here, all is well with the world.
I can almost hear the Psalmist whispering in my ear, “Rest in the Lord…” (Psalm 37:7 NKJV). There is nothing better than a swing on a summer evening to take that advice to heart. The Lord definitely wants us to relax and refresh our spirits after a busy day, but I believe we are to rest and renew spiritually in the Lord, as well.
For me, that certainly means I am to take a deep breath and – as my granddaughters often chant for me, “ ‘inhale blue skies, exhale gray.’ “The rhythms of our lives should echo the rhythms found in God’s Word and His world. And again, the word that comes into my mind is contentment.
Contentment, as I’ve said before, is an old-fashioned, non-glamourous word. But the act of contentment is so incredibly powerful when it directs our lives.
I’m not the only one who glimpsed its power. In Phil.4:13 (NIV), the Apostle Paul models the Christian lifestyle we are to develop: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Despite my peaceful hours on the porch swing, I haven’t forgotten that life brings its share of storms that inevitably make way for our sultry summer evenings to turn into blustery winter nights. But, if we master the art of contentment, we can face whatever blows our way, knowing God is with us.