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“A very original man must shape his life, make a schedule that allows him to reflect, and study and create.” – Gary Wells
Sunrises and sunsets, both create a space for reflection. I like that because the uniqueness of the moment is so original that I tend to be more pensive and willing to listen, more apt to learn, and I find myself bending towards humility and kindness.
Sunrises follow sunsets, (or is it the other way around, I’m not sure) and they appear quieter than sunsets. Sunsets are usually accompanied by a cheer, a toast and in some cases a cannon shot (Florida Keys style). Sunsets are making a statement; they tend to have some ego. They scream, “look at me” as they spray their rays across the skies, making their last statement before they go to sleep. They remind me of a child that complains when it’s bedtime and yells “I don’t want to go to bed!”
Sunrises, however, tend to be a bit more sympathetic because they know I’m still acclimating. I wonder what a sunrise wants to say to me? I’m guessing that it says some of the same things every morning, much like how I greet Lisa with a “good morning honey, sleep well?” However, I’m sure it probably also wants to say a few other things unique to me.
An artist’s gift
I think a sunrise wants to say, “surprise” as it presents to me a gift. The gift is a very special one that has just been completed and is uniquely mine, much like an artist presenting a portrait to his muse.
Recently, Lisa and I had the unique privilege of spending time with Sir Roland Richardson, a well-known Caribbean impressionist, and his wife Laura. We watched him paint a portrait. I noted the manner that he intently focused upon his subject, observing unique characteristics, features and textures. He also did something unique. He allowed his subject, during breaks, to see the work in progress. Additionally, he allowed his observing guests to add their critique and suggestions (we kept our mouths shut). We watched an artist create his gift, with an audience watching. I think God does that too. Imagine that each night, as we sleep, God is busy creating another gift to present to me each and every day.
I believe a sunrise may also say, “be careful.” The fact is that each new day is exactly that, new. I’ve never lived this day before, I have no idea what to expect, despite what my manufactured calendar says. However, I have a tendency to rest on the laurels of my previous days and sometimes coast along.
God convicted me several years ago about my morning routine. I have a routine that includes coffee, a light breakfast, a 30-minute workout, a review of my calendar, emails, news headlines and oh yea, my quiet time with God. In there lies the issue that God drew my attention too. The sequence. I was starting my day without my God suit on. Therefore, I was not taking advantage of the insights, perspectives and help afforded to me by God. He was the cab-bus not the engine. I’ve since made the appropriate adjustments, “thank you God.”
Time to listen
I also believe a sunrise may also not say anything, but simply create space to listen. Perhaps it asks me a provocative question that triggers in me a deeper, personal and imaginative thought. Perhaps that question opens up the opportunity for me to create.
God created me to create and sometimes I simply need to be reminded that I have His permission. I’m afraid to create sometimes because what if I’m judged by what I create. What if any observer of my creation laughs, dismisses or ignores my creation? Perhaps my creation is not perfect or beautiful. Perhaps it’s a reflection of an anger or disappointment that I’m carrying. Perhaps I sense nothing and, therefore, respond with silence.
Reflection of God’s love
God adores you, simply said. We have a very limited understanding of just how much we are loved by Him. However, that sunrise is God’s little wake up nudge for each of us. God’s love for you is never adequately expressed by a friend, a church, religion or anything that we are familiar with. We will always be disappointed and hurt if that is our sole source of interpreting God’s love for us.
God’s love is not always expressed the way we may expect it. In Psalm 40, in The Message, David speaks about a letter God writes about him, followed by a party He throws for him. The psalmist responds with “that’s when God’s Word entered my life, became part of my being.” God’s love for you and me is so supernatural, so powerful, so divine that it makes its way into our very core of who we are.
Jason Upton, a friend who is a singer, songwriter and preacher, says this in one of his songs: “If you are ever going to see the sunrise, someone has to wake up before the morning comes.” I guess the point I want to leave you with is this. God eagerly awaits you each and every day, and we need to anticipate His presence and voice. I think God wakes up before us to greet us with His gift, and who am I to ignore that.
Stephan N. Tchividjian is the president and founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit southflorida.ncfgiving.com to learn more.
Read more articles by Stephan Tchividjian at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/stephan-tchividjian/