The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
PROVERBS 4:18 [NLT]
Hello there! It’s been a while….like 9 months. I pray this reflection finds you at peace in your heart.
We just returned Sunday from a most fabulous week in the jaw-droppingly beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. What I observed there from Papa Yahweh was so meaningful to me, that I could not not share some of it. Our first morning on the island I woke up before dawn in order to see the sun rise over the ocean. It was so mesmerizing and exhilarating, that I got up early for the next six days, no matter how late we were up socializing the nite before, to witness this cosmic event of divine artistry from our infinitely talented Creator.
There really is something to intentionally absorbing the glory of God’s creative wonder–especially a wonder as magnificent as a T & C sunrise. An epiphany hit me some years ago that “in the beginning” God made everything to reflect Him, His nature, the spiritual journey, and the nature of life. (As opposed to it being we clever beings coming up with ingenious comparisons all on our own.) Some of these are fairly obvious, and some are even spelled out in Scripture for us, i.e. Vine and branch, the Spirit being like wind, trees planted by rivers, etc. And some reflections require a bit of work, observation, pondering, seeking…. I have found that the more time and narrowed focus spent in this holy excavation, the more memorable and long lasting is the truth which is revealed and implanted.
One of the first aspects I noticed from this sunrise sermon was how difficult it was to actually grasp a sense of the change occurring before my very eyes. So I began staring at just one part of one cloud to try to capture even the tiniest difference being made above me, but after about ninety seconds I could not tell what had changed, even though the sky had grown a bit brighter and more beautiful. My eyes would then be drawn away from my focus spot and over to a new streak of pink and salmon that had pierced a dark cloud like a flame thrower shooting through the middle of the nite. “Oooohhh,” I exclaimed aloud, even though I was sitting by myself. And the Wind (Pneuma) whispered to me, “This is how it is with your journey toward Christ. As you inch ever closer, and it is quite important that you progress in this daily, you will typically not see the transformation in real time, but one day you may suddenly notice a wonderful shift in you or even those around you where you were not even looking.” As the wisdom goes, it is better to practice something everyday for fifteen minutes than for an hour and a half once every two weeks. The sun simply keeps peeking over the horizon, rising without stopping, and before you know it, it’s daytime. “Just keep swimming.” How important it is to draw closer to God every single day, putting forth concerted effort to grow in Christ likeness by placing ourselves in the direct rays of the Spirit’s divine energy.
Another aspect I saw in these mornings was that obviously everything got brighter–all around me became illuminated. The closer we draw near Jesus, the clearer the path becomes; we’re not groping around in the dark wondering what the right thing to do is. Also, our reflected light will fall upon more and more people around us, as we “rise”. But what I had not really thought of before was what became more difficult, and eventually impossible, to see. The stars–those things farthest away from me. Pneuma whispered into me again: That which is farthest from your center, your divinely appointed purpose, will fade away as you journey down the path of righteousness. And those closest to you, which you have overlooked due to your self-focus, will be illuminated, and their needs easier than ever to see. If you keep maturing, becoming a little holier than you were yesterday, eventually selfish desires will dissipate into near nothingness. The beauty of Jesus, absorbed more and more, overtakes and swallows up the allure of pleasing yourself, just as the sunrise overtakes the nite sky. Like abstaining from the processed sugar of say, Mountain Dew, you will gradually lose a hankering for it, and it may even become quite nasty to you. (But you must always be on guard against temptation!)
A really cool sidenote is that on about the fifth day after listening to Yahweh through His sunrises, I was reading one of the Tozer books I brought with me, and saw in it the verse above, Proverbs 4:18. It was so ridiculously fitting, that it was like Jesus Himself was giving me the most affirming hug of my life. “I’m here with you, enjoying this too! I’m so glad you’re seeing this.”
The vivid awesomeness that is the sunrise over the ocean is simultaneously energizing and calming. It starts your day most appropriately, and can even sustain you throughout the day, though you may need to take a moment or two in the afternoon to reflect in your heart upon the tranquility of that morning experience. How easy it would be to sleep in one day and miss this incredible gift, then another, until we start to forget the beauty that was once so deeply inspiring to us. Whether through laziness, or the anesthesia of the world’s stupid ways, we can find ourselves having missed the greatest part of the day, and then recognize we are merely laboring under that Sun which desired to be with us in peace and quiet a few hours ago. Oh how vital it truly is to return to our First Love, to the beauty of the most perfect love shown on the cross, every day.