“To love God is to love His will. It is to wait quietly for life to be measured by One who knows us through and through. It is to be content with His timing and His wise appointment.”
― Elisabeth Elliot
There’s something about sunsets that is both glorious and melancholic. When the sun glows like a ball of fire settling on the horizon, it is breathtakingly beautiful. At the same time, it heralds a period of darkness and signals creation to come to a rest, at least until the next day. When good things come to an end, it is only natural to experience sadness and grief. Summer is a beautiful season but it seems to be a popular time for transitions and farewells. In academia, it’s the season when senior trainees graduate and the newbies arrive, eager to have their first adventures as dermatology residents. It’s also a time when career moves and re-locations often take place, which means saying goodbye to friends.
Closer to home, another type of sunset may be happening as aging parents and grandparents decline mentally and physically. It is tempting to deny or resist the season that is upon us, when it demands too much from us. When the world seems to move at a pace that is beyond our ability to cope (like everyday, right?), we can feel overwhelmed, anxious and helpless.
“Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face Lord, do I seek. Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!’ ” Psalm 27:7-9
When change becomes challenging, we are to seek God even more. There is a difference between seeking God and seeking for answers. Our logical human minds require a rational explanation for why things are the way they are, which is not necessarily wrong. The bible tells us that even those who love God struggled and wrestled with him at times. But God always desires greater things for us. He desires for us to know him more fully and love him more deeply. He desires for us to delight in him above all, to bear fruit and reflect his image. He desires to satisfy our deepest longing with his own joy. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
By his grace, he moves us from a place of seeking answers to seeking HIM, and he uses our brokenness in this beautiful journey.
The passage of time, the changing of the seasons, the temporal nature of things and relationships only serve to exalt even more the steadfastness of Christ, the permanence of his covenant of love, and the eternal glory that awaits us; an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you (us) (1 Peter 1:4).
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ” 1 Peter 1:13
Life is a series of transitions, many of which entail losses. But as Christian author and speaker Rosaria Butterfield wrote – “where God is in your loss matters more to a doubting and cynical world than where God is in your plenty.” To be content with his will and timing for everything powerfully testifies to our faith in the goodness and sovereignty of God. This does not mean that change will be easy or that ageing will be painless. But we can go through them humbly and graciously when our hearts are secure in Christ alone. Abiding in him who is the true vine (John 15:1) makes all the difference. He did say, “apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Why do we even try?
Like the turning of a page, each sunset marks the end of the day. While there may be losses to grieve, there is always greater joy to look forward to as we look to him who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) . Every sunset simply reminds me that I am another day closer to being united with Jesus forever. And that is absolutely glorious!