It is hot as heck, y’all. I hope you’ve all been able to beat the heat. I don’t know about you guys, but my house practically turns into an oven in the summer heat. I took a nap the other day and woke up in a sauna. Except the sauna was my living room. Yesterday, it was 117 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix, Arizona. It didn’t even crack 100 here yesterday and it was almost more than I could handle. How in the world do people live in such hot, horrible conditions??? I’m truly baffled. Just throw the whole state out.

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No offense to Arizonians.

Does anyone else get a bit grouchy when the heat rolls in? I do. I get irritable and cranky, and my temper tends to be on a much shorter fuse. And that’s okay. You just have to drink lots of water and stick your head in the freezer for a little bit. No biggie.

What can we do when being overheated, hungry, or tired causes us to be irritable with others? Let’s take a look at how Jonah responds under the hot sun.

Jonah 4:5-11
5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Let’s not lose the context of the moment. Jonah is really, truly angry here because God told him that He would destroy Nineveh if they did not repent, but then they did repent and God spared them. So Jonah sulked around and watched the city from afar and pouted, hoping still that the Lord would visit His wrath upon the Ninevites. Maybe he would have reacted differently if not for the hot sun, but I doubt it. God had provided him with shade the day before and he still pouted.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make here is that anger is not a primary emotion, it is secondary. It is a reaction to stimuli. Like insufferable heat. It’s incredibly important to identify the root cause of what it is that’s making you angry before you react. If it’s heat, find a way to cool off and I bet your temper will cool off, too. If it’s something deeper rooted than that, talk to someone you trust about it. Unpack what it is that’s making you angry. Take it to God in prayer. The last thing you should do is react in the heat (pun intended) of the moment.

Stay cool, everybody.
-Marshall Lauck

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