Summer Cooler & the Resurrection
I enjoy something about all the seasons, but we are primarily summer people in our household. The long days and warm temperatures make it possible for us to get outside after being cooped up for months on end. We particularly enjoy striking out for the lake whenever we get a chance. When a Saturday afternoon opens up for us, we grab the dog, hook up our old boat, and head out for the water. Sometimes we even take the kids.
To facilitate a quick getaway, we have a cooler that we keep on standby. It sits in a nook between the kitchen and the dining room. (Seriously, who goes in the dining room, anyway?) That way we can get to it quickly without having to dig it out of storage. Dump in some ice, throw in some sodas and hot dogs and you’ve got an instant, nutritious summer meal to enjoy on the water. When we return home, we unload the cooler and return it to its assigned place, ready for the next trip.
Last season our final trip to the lake was never intended to be our final trip to the lake. We kept thinking we’d have at least one more outing, but then school started and life got busy and the days got shorter and the next thing we knew, there was snow on the ground. Meanwhile, that cooler sat there in its spot, waiting patiently to be called into duty. I remember thinking, as we were hanging Christmas decorations, that I should probably face the fact we weren’t going to the lake anytime soon and put the cooler away in storage for a while. But for some reason, I never did. Now I think I know why.
You see, by February, I was sick of winter. We’d had one good snow, but mostly we just had cold rain. The sky, the back yard, my spirit – it all felt gray and lifeless. Then one morning while scurrying through the kitchen I just happened to look over and catch a glimpse of that cooler out of the corner of my eye. It was still sitting there in that same spot where we had placed it after that last outing at the close of the previous summer. Two thoughts immediately came to mind: one, we obviously do a great job of cleaning things up around here, and two, warm weather is coming! Strangely enough, my spirit was lifted, even if just a bit, as I was reminded that seasons come and go and then come again, and that the cold wouldn’t last forever. That silly cooler was a sign of things that were to come.
Last week, that sign proved to be accurate. For the first time this season, we filled it with ice and soda and hot dogs and headed out for the lake. I smiled with satisfaction as I slung the kids around on an inflated tube behind the boat. I think they enjoyed it too, but then again it may have been screams of terror I was hearing. Either way, we’d made it through another winter and were making new memories together in our family’s happy place.
At the risk of sounding coy, that cooler sitting in my kitchen is a small reminder of how the resurrection functions in the life of the believer. When God called Jesus back from the grave, he was doing more than performing a really cool trick. He was giving us a glimpse of the future. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says the resurrected Jesus was a first fruit. That’s an agricultural metaphor which means He was a sign of things to come. What God did for Jesus in raising Him to a newly glorified life, He will also one day do for all those who are in Christ. Because of the resurrection, we have the promise that death and chaos are not the final word. When we find ourselves in the midst of heartache and sadness, we can be reassured there is a new and better day coming. Perhaps that is enough to lift our spirits, even if for just a moment.
The next few weeks are pretty busy for my family, so there are no lake trips currently on our schedule, but that cooler is sitting in its assigned place. The sight of it each morning gives me hope that on some warm afternoon in the not too distant future, we will once again be on the water, eating more summer health food and making more memories. And that makes me smile.