God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:5 ESV
It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we pulled up to our last lawn to mow for the week. “We’re here to cut the grass, Mrs. Schwartz*!” I called out as we hurried to get the mowers of the truck. But she quickly stopped us in our tracks, as she replied “Oh no, not now! It is too close to Sabbath.” You see, I was learning that when we Gentiles see a sunset and think, “Another day is done.” But, to the Jewish mind, just as in the book of Genesis, sunset is the beginning of a new one. Today’s verse makes it clear that darkness always comes first, and then light. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
The same is true of God’s schedule for every one of us. When the darkness of illness, trouble of death falls in our lives, we think, “This is the end of my day!” But God replies, “Oh no; not at all! This night season you are about to pass through is a new beginning. It is almost Sabbath, and on the other side of this darkness is the second half of the day. There you will be sure to find both sunrise and true rest! “
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in Green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever! Amen!
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 ESV
One of my favorite reasons for going to the beach is to watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Any sunset is beautiful but the most spectacular require some clouds on the horizon, for the sun to light up with amazing shades of red, orange and yellow below the canopy of a fading blue sky. When my sister-in-law passed away recently, I was reminded of sunsets in our own lives. Our years of day trips into Chinatown, Christmases at the big house when all six brothers and sisters gathered and walks in Golden Gate Park reflected off the clouds of sorrow that came with the phone call telling us of Diane’s passing.
Though grief has settled on our horizon, God is painting the colors of sunset on our hearts with hope. Diane’s hope was not in the doing or possessing of anything here on this shore, but across the other side of the sea with Jesus Christ. The beauty of the hope we hold onto when the blue sky of our passing years fades is His signature which says, “This life is mine, and a new and happier one lies across the sea.” There we will meet Diane again, where we will be able to run up heaven’s hills and together breathe deeply of its pure air. Our life here is just an unfinished canvas. If we put the paintbrush of our will into the Master’s hands, He will fill our days with His design and sign at the bottom when He is done. Just as every sunset tells us that God has finished another day, so a life that is His will receive His signature, declaring, “This is mine – and all that has passed is only the beginning of all the wonders that lie in store!”