Sunrise, Sunset

29861Evening passed, and morning came. This was the third day.

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the sky to separate day from night. These lights will be used for signs, seasons, days, and years.They will be in the sky to give light to the earth.” And it happened. Genesis 1:13-15

Life is full of transitions. I’ve watched many sunrises and sunsets, marveling at their beauty and majesty. I would miss it all if the transition between night and day was simply a flip of a switch, similar to what I experience when I walk in or out of a room in my house and turn a light on or off. I would miss vibrant colors that cannot be seen any other time of the day except during the transitions of sunrises and sunsets. I’d miss the anticipation of a new day as I begin in the dark but see a hint of light in the eastern sky. I’d miss the reminder of the pending darkness near the end of the day, when I know I must finish an outside task before I need a flashlight.

Despite being a morning person, I remember some mornings I wasn’t excited to see the sun rise. I also remember many days I didn’t want the sun to set. The transition period was almost painful, because I wasn’t particularly thrilled with what was coming next. Perhaps it would have been easier to have the lights come on or off all at once. No, I don’t think so. Temporary blindness doesn’t sound appealing either. The transition between light and dark allows for adjustment. Transition also invites choice:

       To be sad something is passing.

       To be anticipatory something is coming.

       To celebrate the completion of progress of something.

       To dread something is coming.

God created seasons, and each season has benefits. Each season involves potential for growth. Each season also includes potential for decline and decay – which can eventually be used for growth.

When have you experienced a death or loss that you later saw an area of growth spring forth?

How can a loss of innocence lead to growth?

Loss of a favorite hobby?

Loss of a relationship?

Loss of material possessions?

Loss of pride?

Loss of satisfaction?

Loss of doubt?

Loss of fear?

Loss of faith?

Loss of control?

Growing up on a farm, I had many pets. I experienced loss numerous times. Sometimes the deaths were sudden. Some were expected. Several were tragic and traumatic. I felt each one with a sharpness, a cold sting of reality. As I’ve experienced other losses throughout my life, the pain is still present and often raw, but I look back on my experiences of life and death on the family farm, and I know they prepared me in some ways to deal with the inevitability of death. Some of the deaths of people in my life have been sudden, some expected, some tragic and traumatic. My earlier experiences on the farm paved the way for an appreciation for life. I rarely take life for granted. I know people can fight long battles of excruciating cancer or lose life in an instant because of a drunk driver. I also know death is yet another sunset, yielding another season that will last for eternity. In fact, life here on earth, comprised of many spiritual seasons of life, is really just one season in preparation for another.

As we work through the spiritual seasons of our lives, may we always widen our vision to take in as much of God’s perspective as we can. That’s why we study God’s Word. That’s why we seek his will. That’s why we yield in obedience. God understands the sunrises and sunsets of our lives. Even in the midst of our experiences and our longings to understand, our comprehension will be limited. When we strive to understand our seasons outside of the context of God’s plan, we try to put together pieces of puzzle with no box as a reference point. Putting together the puzzle is difficult anyway, but without studying and regularly glimpsing at what the big picture is, we will be less effective and more distracted.

As challenging as it is, let’s savor what God has for us.

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