The sun rises and sets every day. (Well, in reality, it only looks like it rises and sets. It’s not moving.) I take it for granted. I’ve seen breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and I imagine you have, too. It’s easy to say “yeah, another beautiful sunrise…breathtaking in the moment, but soon forgotten.”
Not this one. I hope to never forget this sunrise – just like I hope to never forget the sunset I witnessed on a flight from the West Coast several years ago. They share something – a stunning, stark transition from dark to light, or light to dark.
When you think of transitions from dark to light, or light to dark, in your life, what comes to mind? I’m not referring to literal sunrises and sunsets. What about the figurative sunrises and sunsets, when you’ve experienced an overwhelming oppression of darkness or an intense illumination with light?
I’ve felt swallowed by darkness, and I’ve felt exposed and warmed by light. The morning I witnessed the brilliant sunrise, I remembered both.
I began an early morning drive and watched the radiant moon, nearly full, contrasted against the darkness. There was no hint of daylight…except the reflected light of the moon. The moon by itself is dark. I looked at the darkness around the moon and surrounding me. It was a stark contrast to the bright moon. As I turned and began to travel southward, I could see to the east no hint of light. I looked to the west and marvelled at the moon, which would have been swallowed in the darkness like everything else around me except that the sun was somewhere, out of my sight, sharing its powerful light. The moon itself? No light. There has to be a source of light. And the moon has to be positioned to reflect it.
What is your source of light? Are you positioned to reflect it?
I thought of the brilliance of the nearly full moon. It wouldn’t have radiated as much light if it wasn’t as full as it was. The moon itself doesn’t grow and diminish in size. It’s the same dark mass all the time, but there are cycles of reflecting more or less light because of its position and the position of “obstacles” blocking the light source.
I can become disheartened when I’m less illuminating than I want to be. I feel less significant. I question my worth. Sometimes it has to do with my own position, and sometimes it has to do with various situations around me. But the source of my light doesn’t change. And the basis of who I am doesn’t change.
How have you experienced cycles of illumination in your life?
And then I saw a hint of light on the horizon. The sun wasn’t visible, but evidence of it was. In fact, evidence of the sun had already been visible because of the moon. As I looked at the thin but vibrant line of light, I was captured by its warmth. I couldn’t feel it’s warmth. I was inside the car – plus, it was a cold morning. But the light was warming. There was something about this sunrise, looking at the moon on my right and the emerging sun on my left. I kept looking back and forth. But as with any sunrise, change can happen in the blink of an eye.
When have you looked away from something for what seemed like a brief moment and looked back to find significant change? When has life changed in the blink of an eye?
As I glanced again, I still couldn’t see the sun, but I saw splashes of color bleeding upward. It was similar to a sunset, but it wasn’t splattered across the sky or horizon – and I saw something I hadn’t seen before.
There was a bold beam of light, reaching from beyond my perspective of the ground high into the sky. It widened as it shot upward, just as a sunbeam widens as it reaches the ground through a break in the clouds.
It was brilliant.
The emerging sunrise on my left. The vibrant moon on my right. Light and dark – but all connected to the light.
I was right in the middle. And as I drove, my view changed with each passing mile.
My view changes on a daily basis. With new experiences, struggles, and relationships come new perspectives. I move through cycles of light and darkness, but the source of my light remains the same, regardless of my experience of it. There is hope and brilliance in everything – even the darkest dark – because God is the source of all life and light.
Regardless of your perspective, God is still God. He is present. He is loving. He is truth.
Look around you and experience the full presence of God.
Lord, you give light to my lamp. My God brightens the darkness around me. Psalm 18:28