“His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from His hand, where His power was hidden.” Habakkuk 3:4
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west; it’s the same thing every day. Whether visible in a clear sky or obscured by a pillow of clouds, it’s always the same flaming orb moving through the sky. But there’s a different sort of magic hidden in that incredible sight on the distant horizon. You can glimpse the sun setting and rising a thousand times without fully seeing or comprehending its beauty or the promise behind it. Whether ascending or descending, the actual sun never changes, though each one affects and touches its viewers differently.
Sunsets are wonderful and draw the most viewers to their crescendo of beauty at the close of the day. They can be likened to a curtain closing at the end of an incredible show, leaving the audience feeling satisfied as the stage lights fade and they head for home. A sunset brings with it feelings of contentment and this almost sweet nostalgia that makes you stare at the fading light in the distance with a wistful smile on your face long after the sun has gone down,.
But to me, a sunrise is like the opening of the curtain. The anticipation builds, leaving you feeling breathless as the small lights over the crowd seem to grow dim with the brilliance of the spotlight on stage. A sunrise is a special, magical sight, bringing with it the promise of a new day as it erases all traces of the night. It always seems like this symbol of hope as it overpowers the paralyzing darkness and brings light to the world. I know that rainbows are a symbol of hope and the promise that God made to Noah, but sunsets are like that to me. I feel closest to Him when I’m bundled up in a quilt, breathing in the heavenly scent of morning dew and coffee, and watching in breathless anticipation as dawn just begins to break. The world seems to go still during that moment when you suddenly realize that the horizon isn’t black like it was a moment ago and that the stars above aren’t as bright.
Those who are close to me have the misfortune of knowing how much I dislike early mornings, but a sunrise is the one event that I would actually get out of bed for at five in the morning. God speaks to people in different ways, and I see him in that bright orange glow as it throws brilliant golden light everywhere and forces the darkness to flee. I honestly can’t explain the joy and hope I feel as I watch the sun ascend and glimpse the magnificence it casts on the world around me. “When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,human beings that you care for them?” Psalm 8:3-4
It’s the same thing every morning—a spectacular sight bringing with it the assurance that yesterday is history and today is a gift, and also a reminder that God has already defeated the darkness. So do your own comparison this week. Take the time to view at least one sunset and a sunrise, and then decide for yourself which one you feel God speak to you through. You might even discover something about yourself. And I’m sorry that some morning-haters like myself may never take a moment to breathe in the most incredible sight they may ever behold or fully realize the blessing behind it.
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” -Bern Williams