I was overwhelmed with the spiritual lessons I received by taking time to notice the sunrise and sunset as often as I was able during Lent. While teaching about the Resurrection, I realized it was more than I could share. Trying to squeeze one week’s lessons down to a summary took fifteen minutes.
I won’t try to spill them all out here—I already know that it is impossible— I would like to share just a few of the gems from making time to catch the sunrise for those 47 days. The first lesson came the first day: if you want to watch the sunrise, it will take time and planning. I knew that time and planning would be necessary on my part, but I hadn’t thought of God’s eternal commitment to time and planning until I pondered it at sunrise and sunset. Time and planning are divine values. If you doubt this, just think about a sunrise. It has never failed to rise and set on God’s time-clock. It is quick, yet painfully slow. We set our clocks by the rhythm of the sunrise and sunset. Lent refers to the lengthening of days that begins to happen in spring. The times and seasons are set by God and we cannot rush it or slow it down.
I always thought that I was missing many glorious sunrises because I was too busy to notice. However, when I set out to purposely watch each day’s transformation at sunrise, I realized that at least in spring there are many days when a sunrise is hidden behind a thick veil of clouds. I knew the sun was rising, but I couldn’t see it happening. The birds sing no matter how much beauty is displayed. The light came every day, but it didn’t always come in glorious displays. For more than half of the days of this Lenten season I did not watch the colorful display I was expecting.
I’m grateful for this. I see God’s wisdom. He knows how amazing His sunrises are, and He doesn’t want them to become merely a demand or expectation. I need to value the honor and privilege of being graced with this beauty.
God has a lot invested in displaying His glory through the world He created. He had His prophet Malachi tell us,
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves (Mal 4:2).”
When we do catch one of those awe-inspiring sunrises, our hearts are filled with the kind of hope that is described in this verse. A sunrise can heal downcast souls so that they are transformed from fear to frolicking, like a perfectly satisfied calf with nothing better to do than dance and play.
That is the kind of effect a beautiful sunrise can have on a soul. I had many experiences of joy as I took in the unique glow of each sunrise. From the first day to the last I was always surprised. I thought I knew what I might observe when I walked out the door each morning. But I was always wrong. Sometimes I thought the clouds would totally conceal the sunrise, but one would thin out just so I could catch a glimpse of color through the clouds. I learned the lesson from the birds. I learned to sing because the light is come, the light is real, and the light is given for me. The light is a reflection of the spiritual light I can enjoy by knowing God in His Word, whether I get the privilege of witnessing the colorful display or the large orange ball or not. In fact, one of my most meaningful sunrises came on Easter morning. The darkest clouds of the whole season shielded the light from my view. Because I had learned the lesson, I found it glorious and beautiful.
Thank You, God for the sunrise. And thank You, God, for the SON who rose from the grave and rescued me from my sin!