As I watched the sunset last night, I was taken aback by the changes occurring right before my eyes. I took several photos but they were not even a glimpse of the glory unfolding as I watched with a wonder that allowed me to see God’s love in the moment. His love is always present, but sometimes, it unfolds like a sunset after a rainy day. His love is never the same, never what I expect, but always just what I need. The tragic death of an eleven-year-old girl in our community reminded me this morning that lives, like sunsets, are subject to change at any given moment.
Like a sunset, clouds create a more profound beauty than a clear horizon. The sun interacts with the moisture in the clouds just as God’s love interacts with the tears of His beloved children. Without the tears, life would be a series of sunrises and sunsets that all looked alike. I thank God for the clouds and the tears because they create a delicate beauty that can never be replicated or captured. Suffering creates a beauty in a wounded heart that cannot be described, only shared with another wounded heart. There are never words to adequately describe the pain of suffering or the joy of healing, but Psalm 30:5 gives the reassurance I need when clouds come into my life. “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” NASB The old saying about a red sky at night being a sailor’s delight also applies to my heart. When the storm clouds leave, the evening sky comes to life. God clears away the heaviness and brings a deeper joy than I can imagine to my heart if I wait upon Him. Just as I could not capture the beauty of the sunset last night, I cannot describe the joy that comes when my broken heart finds healing.
Life can change for the good or in a tragic way at any given moment, and that makes me look at life in a new light. The glass doors and windows of my bedroom open out to a western horizon that takes my breath away with sunsets that set the sky on fire. Yesterday, as I was driving home, I noticed a house that had closed blinds on all the windows. I wondered how anyone could live shut up in such a house, and then I remembered that I shut my heart off the very same way for much of my life. My curtains and my heart are open now, but the breathtaking views from my room go unnoticed when I’m too busy to stop, and love slips away if I don’t have time to connect as God desires. Hearts and windows must to be open to the sunshine and the rain if I want to see sunsets that come when the two come together. It is truly a glimpse of what is yet to come.
At worship on Sunday morning, I was asked to remember the time I first fell in love with Christ. My heart immediately went back to April 17th, 1964. I understood that Christ loved me enough to die for me, and wanted to love Him back with all of my heart. My journey took me away from His precious love for a long time, and I recalled that dark time as well yesterday as I found myself unable to pray or write. It was a terrible state very like hell. Hell is separation from God, and I had a bitter taste of that yesterday as I wallowed and whined in my own self pity.
I’m thankful my separation from God was only for a day, and I thank Him for reminding me of the time when we first fell in love. I found myself thinking of other times I had fallen in love. There were three, but I could only recall specific moments and dates for one. I know that’s because I’ve only experienced true love once. The memories brought both sadness and joy. I loved reliving those sweet moments of finding love, but my heart filled with excruciating pain as I thought of losing it. It was a taste of hell just as the love had been a taste of heaven. I don’t know if I will ever find true love again. I’m not sure if I can have that level of love more than once in this life. I am positive I don’t want my heart to go through that level of pain ever again, but I know God will help me sort it all out.
At the end of the service on Sunday, the invitation was to think again about that time I fell in love and accepted Christ’s love as my own. I do remember when, and I thank God that I have His love forever. Recalling the pain of losing love was a sobering reminder that I am the only one who can end my relationship with Christ. I know I can turn from Him because I’ve done that before, and I do not plan to ever do that again. My day away from Him yesterday was interminable as I found myself back in that terrible desert of separation.
God taught a beautiful lesson and brought much healing with the simple exercise of remembering when. Remembering when I met and fell in love with Him put all things into perspective. I marvel at how He gave me just what I needed just when I needed it. His love transcends and transforms in ways I cannot begin to understand, but I truly appreciate that love and the love He allowed me to experience while on this journey. There is joy as I remember my salvation, and that is beautiful hope in Psalm 51. I wasn’t surprised when He placed that particular psalm in my path this morning.
Hear God’s love and healing in verses 10-12. I pray I will have a willing and obedient spirit as His love leads me in His direction.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.”NASB