As many of you likely know, I am not a morning person. Even that is an understatement. Truth be told, mornings and I have a co-existing relationship. They exist. I exist. I wake up during them the majority of time. My parents, as a result, have always called me a “night owl”. (Don’t worry; there are such things as non-nocturnal owls. That is the random fact of the blog). To me, mornings have one benefit: breakfast food.
I’m sure it would surprise you then, that I actually have seen both subjects of today’s 30 Days of Thanks, Sunrises and Sunsets. I have seen my share of sunsets, romantic and non-romantic. But, I have truly only seen a handful of sunrises in my life. Actually, more like two that I can remember.
Back in the Spring of 2008, I went on a short-term mission trip to Germany for US Military kids whose families were stationed there through the youth ministry program at Multnomah University, of which I was a student at the time. Going on this trip was my first international travel experience, so I did not know how my body would respond to the sudden change in time zones.
Of course, I didn’t sleep a tick during the flight over the pond. In order to become properly acquainted with the new time zone, we were advised it was best to stay awake until it was time to go to bed in Germany. By the time the missionaries there actually let us get to bed, it was 7:30 PM, which was 10:30 AM our time, having then been awake close to 28 hours straight at that point. When I went to bed, after having taken some Tylenol PM to smooth the process, I was out. For the first and only time in my life, I slept through the whole night and woke up alert and excited for the day at 6:30 AM. It was a miracle!
With it still dark outside, I went and took a quick shower, came back to my room, grabbed my Bible, and went outside to enjoy the beauty of the morning for the first time in my life. I found a bench outside the dormitory we were staying in that overlooked a large meadow with a backdrop of a line of trees. Not knowing this when I sat there, but the sun was going to rise just over those trees shortly after I sat down.
I truly don’t remember what passage I was looking at that morning, but I do remember being caught up in worship as I watched the sunrise come up over those trees and bring a foggy meadow to light. It was truly one of the simplest, but most beautiful sights I’d ever seen.
Every time I see a sight like this, the first thought that always pops up in my head is, “There’s no way I could have created this. There’s no way this is all by accident.” I am caught up in worship by this thought.
I also then think of this great God that created all of this simply by the Word of His mouth, and that He takes thought of me. Why should He? Why would He? I’m this miniscule speck on a tiny ball spinning in this infinitely vast cosmos that He created with His Word. I am left feeling healthily small, not puffed up, but humbled in love.
This is because He did all of this creation because of His great love. Scripture says that, “God is love.” God is the standard by which we define love. And this love, as we are also told in Scripture, not only notices that we exist, but listens, cares, feels, and sacrifices for us. Is there any other love like it in the world? None.
This is why I am thankful for sunrises and sunsets. They put me in my place: squarely in His vast, immeasurable, and humbling loving embrace.