“Lord, I need to see a sunrise at the beach.” Those words have been slipping from my lips a few times recently. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen that beautiful scene in that setting.
So, when on vacation, I’m the one rolling out of bed at 5:00 am to go strolling on the beach to see the sunrise. Yeah – that one – the one grabbing my ball cap, pulling it over my bed head hair, slipping on my flip flops, and practically escaping like a bandit out in my pjs.
To me, sunrises on the beach represent hope, dreams, a new day dawning. And when I’m there, I just can’t wait to see the ball of fire piercing the horizon. Though the last few times we have been to the beach, the morning horizon has been clouded with storms, and the sunrise – hidden, I’ve still been out there, hoping, waiting, expecting.
I know it’s still there, of course. The sun is still rising behind those grey clouds, but it’s just not the same as seeing the blazing glory waking up the world.
So, I’ve been complaining a bit to the Lord… It has felt like cloudy, stormy, grey skies for a long time now, blocking the promises, the dreams, the hopes of God.
Delay after delay after delay of things I know the Lord has promised. Sometimes, it has felt my hope has wained. I wonder how Abraham, the Father of our faith, managed to not only keep his faith alive, but to actually grow in faith of the fulfillment of the promises.
At the beginning of summer, I pulled the covers up to my chin, and sleepily said once more, “Lord, I could really use a sunrise at the beach,” meaning I really could use some hope, some glimmer that these crazy promises from you will be fulfilled.
Immediately, the Lord shot back, “Carolyn, the sun rises every morning. Why don’t you get out of bed and come see it?”
The moment of decision came. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed, slipped on my shorts, pushed my ball cap over my head, and shoved on my tennis shoes.
I don’t live anywhere near the beach, but I have a peaceful golf course of rolling, grassy hills that a neighbor introduced to me to within walking distance.
I padded down the twisting, dewy path, past an old country club, up and down the hills to the back of the course, and around a mist-covered pond with geese floating across it. Disturbed by my intrusion, the flock took flight. The rhythmic beating of their wings and honks filled the air as the majestic birds flew over my head .
The early morning sun’s rays glowed on the grassy hill ahead of me. I quickened my steps so not to miss the moment.
It happens in a moment you know, that precise time when the sun peaks over the horizon line.
As I rounded the bend, reaching the top of the hill, I turned to face east. There in front of me, the rays began peeking through the trees like shining beams of liquid gold.
The simple beauty caught my breath for a moment.
“Wow, Papa! I had forgotten.”
A couple of weeks passed of the me encountering the sunrise, but my heart still felt heavy with the longing of the specific sunrise I had asking for – the specific promises that remain unfulfilled.
I felt the Lord beckon me again, but this time as I began to climb the final hill to where the sun’s rays had already begun to cause to ground to glow, the Lord’s voice rung strong in my ears.
“Sweetheart, why don’t you just enjoy the sunrise I give you, instead of longing for something different, “ I felt a pause, and then He continued.
“Daughter, the sun is always rising where ever you are. The rising and the setting are every day. I am present with you in every moment. Stop longing for what you don’t have, but look for what I am doing today.”
“Look for me in this day dear one, and at the right time, you’ll have your beach sunrise again – in my time, in my way.”
I walked further down the path as He continued. “I will give you hope for the promises to be fulfilled, and I will fulfill those promises at the right time. Both come from me. Don’t be discouraged that it’s not happening the way you think or at the place you think. I am always at work. I’m in every moment, in every sunrise, in every sunset, and I will not disappoint you.”
“If you keep your focus on what you don’t have, you will miss me in the moment called today.”
I continued to walk down over a bridge and then back up another hill, while a hawk swooped near by.
“Life is about journeying with me. Not a destination. At each promise fulfilled, there will be a new horizon in front of you to reach. This is for all eternity, not just your journey on earth. There will always be a journey with me, a new adventure in me, growth in me, new horizons with me for eternity.”
I allowed His words to sink deeply into my heart.
I have a tendency to always be looking to what’s not completely healed, what’s still broken or incomplete, or what I don’t have yet, like the next goal or the next horizon, to the point that I miss Him in the moments many times.
He is always working in our lives, journeying with us, healing us, comforting us, encouraging us, and forming us into the beautiful sons and daughters that He has created us to be.
Yet, if we are always discouraged about what hasn’t happened yet – the promises that aren’t fulfilled, the healing that hasn’t manifested yet, the pain that still lingers, etc., then we will miss what He has done and is doing on the journey where we are at. We will miss the sunrises and sunsets. We will miss the thousand ways that He is at work in us.
Paul said that he had learned to be content or at peace in whatever circumstance He found himself in.
Whether hungry or well fed, whether healed or having just been beaten, etc., he had learned the art of seeing Jesus in his “moments”. He kept his eyes fixed on his Lord and what he was doing today.
“Savor”, “relish”, “taste and see” the Lord’s goodness every day, the glimmers of His presence in our every day.
Think about “Whatever is good, lovely, of a good report…” That’s seeing our Lord in the present, and enjoying what He is doing.
That’s living in the Kingdom, and seeing things from His perspective.
Have you ever just looked back sometimes to see how much you have grown, to see how far you have come?
It’s a beautiful thing to see the good fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.
Ask Yahweh to show you. Ask Him to show you the glimmers, His involvement in your day to day life. Even in the mundane of life.
Like when your teens crowd your bedroom for a late night chat, or in the washing of the dishes with the clean, smooth, gleam of the porcelain in your hands, or in the unexpected call of a friend, etc.. It may not come in the way you expected or the place you expect, but He is there. He is at work bring about His good plans for our lives.
He is always present, always good, always working for our good.
May you savor the sunrise wherever you find yourself today, discover Yahweh in your moments, and trust Him to fulfill His promises over your life in His perfect timing and way.