The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:1-3 (NIV)
One evening, my friend who keeps her horses at my house called and said, “It’s beautiful out! Let’s go riding.” While she was right, a gentle breeze blew across the bay and for the first time in many days, a raging afternoon thunderstorm was not overhead, I was hot, tired and stressed from my day. Budget cuts and layoffs were the topic of conversation at work as well as rising gas prices, mounting food bills and falling stock prices. I knew it would be good for me to go, but I just did not have the energy. She asked me twice and I stood my ground so she hung up. Soon, I saw her drive in and start unloading her tack. “What are you doing?” I asked. She said she was just going to ride her horse in the round pen for a while, but I saw a gleam in her eye that told me she knows me well. I couldn’t just sit there and watch her go around and around in circles instead of exploring the island. Not when she so often obliges me when I ask her to go riding. So, I went. As we rode, thunderheads began to build in the east and move towards the island. Fortunately, the rain held off, but the result was a sky turned beautiful shades of violet and pink. The setting sun reflected against them with the tops of the clouds purple and the bottom a striking fuchsia. I thought of a proverb my dad taught me when I was a little girl and we had a boat. It went, “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” When I first read the verses above, I was surprised to know that that same wisdom imparted by my father existed two thousand years ago during Jesus’ days on earth. Although it makes sense that a sailor’s life depended upon learning weather signs, it is neat to think of it being handed down generation to generation. Here, Jesus condemns the Pharisees and Sadducees for demanding that he prove Himself the Son of God by working miracles even though He came to earth and spent his entire life doing just that. The retort is equally as valid in the times in which we live. Prophets of doom and gloom fill the newspapers, airwaves and the Internet. Depression is on the horizon. The stock market will crash. Hurricanes are coming. Gas rationing will begin. Food will run out. Crime is on the increase. No one really knows, but it makes me want to hide my head under the covers and not come out. Yet, just as He was in the days Jesus walked upon this earth, God is still in control. He knows today whether the sky will be red or blue one hundred years from now. I can trust Him to take care of me and those I love no matter what color the sky turns out to be.