With nearly unlimited visibility, quiet winds and the sun fading on the western horizon, I was excited to climb into the copilot’s seat on my boss’s Pilatus to head home after a week at corporate headquarters.
But I was in no way prepared for the longest sunset I had ever experienced.
Oranges, reds, yellows and purples I had never seen mingled in a kaleidoscope of color nearly overwhelmed my mind’s palate.
Flying into a sunset seems to extend its life and expand its beauty.
Living in Florida exposes me constantly to beautiful sunsets. Summertime with its thunder storms that fill each evening’s sky with towering clouds creates a perfect environment for majestic grandeur of the day’s fading sun.
But in the right seat of the plane Friday night, I encountered an intensity of color and a depth of contrast between sun, sky and horizon that was unlike any sunset I had ever experienced. It raised again a question I have pondered many times in the past few months.
Why are we so obsessed with sunrises and sunsets?
All you need is a Facebook feed or Instagram account and you will quickly see how many of us can’t resist snapping a picture of the sun’s daily routine…the repetition of which we never seem to tire.
I am convinced that this fascination is built on our constant need for beginnings and endings.
Life in its best and worst moments simply demands the turning of a page. Inception and closure. Beginning and end. Start and finish…or maybe, start and re-start.
- The wonderful thing about life with God is that there is always room for “starting-overs”.
- The powerful thing about life with God is that all our “starting-overs” are stitched together into one “never-ending”.
Sunsets remind us that old stuff ends. Todays–with all their traumas and mistakes; joys and delights–come to a close.
Sunrises tell us that new stuff begins. Tomorrows–with all their questions and uncertainty; hope and promise–give a fresh start.
As Tevya once wistfully sang,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.
Sunrises lead to sunsets. Sunsets celebrate sunrises.
We stop. We start over.
But we are not a series of disjointed episodes with no overriding story or uniting theme.
Sewn together by the mysterious thread of God’s overarching pattern, life with God is a weaving of realities and contrasts that creates a beauty only appreciated from an eternal point of view.
David, the often meteoric and sometimes neurotic songwriter-king of Israel, lived a life characterized by the manic extremes of wild successes and utter failures. Anyone looking objectively at his life, family, leadership and personality is tempted to stamp “dysfunction” as the summation.
But there was a hidden secret beneath the raw realities of David’s checkered life. God knew this unpredictable shepherd as “a man after My own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
That single strain was the thread God used to bind together all the sunrises and sunsets of David’s daily to create a life the Father summed up like this:
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors…” (Acts 13:36).
He served Gods purpose in his generation…that’s how God remembered him.
Not the adulterer; or murderer; or manipulator; or negligent father…not any of the labels we would so easily stitch into the fabric of his life.
What people can only see as fragmented and broken, God has the vision to see as complete and whole.
As he pulls together the dangling threads of our lives to create a patchwork reflection of grace, we are able to enjoy the hope of sunrises and the relief of sunsets knowing the life they frame will be completed in His never-ending day.