I've heard the following phrase used a few different times as an encouragement to read Scripture, and while it's certainly valid, it kind of frustrated me this week. It goes something like this, "When the Enemy attacks, you can't tell him, 'But I watched a sunrise!' You need to combat him with Scripture."
Yes. Absolutely. Scripture is our sword and we need to know how to use it. Totally agree.
I went to watch the sun rise over the ocean this weekend. And it moved my heart in ways that nothing else has for a few months. We were staying with some family near the coast, and I determined that I was going to see the sunrise. I'm accustomed to 4 or 5 beach visits a year, but I had yet to put my toes in the ocean even once this year. I woke up early and got in the truck, not sure exactly where I would be able to see the sunrise, and started driving in the general direction of where the sun would be. When I got to the highway, the sun was already tracing the silver linings of the clouds in front of it. I put on one of my favorite songs, "Future Past" by John Mark McMillan, and then almost had to pull the car over because I was weeping so hard. I was surprised by it, as I mostly just wanted something to accompany me on my drive, I wasn't really looking for a "grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day" sort of moment.
Here are the lyrics to the first verse of the song:
"You hold the reins on the sun and the moon// like horses driven by kings// You cover the mountains, the valleys below // with the breadth of your mighty wings // all treasures of wisdom and things to be known are hidden inside Your hand // and in this fortunate turn of events, You've asked me to be Your friend."
This was the coming together of a lot of things for me. We had recently watched Louie Giglio's "How Great is Our God" sermon (thanks Tina & Mom!) and been amazed at our Creator God. The God who made our sun such that if the earth were the size of a golf ball, the sun would be 15 feet in diameter, in comparison. And then He put us the perfect distance away from it.
He made the cosmos with the words of His mouth, and then He came down to our dear little earth and planted a garden. And then He formed a man out of the dust, and He filled him with His own breath of life, so that we could see Him in the vastness and grandeur of the heavens, and in the intricate miracles of each other.
As I drove and worshipped the One who holds the reins on that sun, I realized how feeble my relationship with Him has been, to where I think I am wise enough to control my own life- where I can counsel Him in my prayers about what is best for me. He must have looked down on me as He did on Job and asked,
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined it's measurements- surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, "Thus far you shall come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed"? Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?" (Job 38. Just read it. He keeps on going. Basically, Papa got home and is giving Job a talking- to.)
Sun rises are important because they point to the Creator. They point to the One who is so radiant in His creation that we have to put sunglasses on. I saw Him in full strength, shining over oceans with currents so strong they have to post warning signs about rip tides, and then I saw Him in the way our new little niece wraps her tiny hand around my finger. I think sometimes when we get into just nit-picking over Scripture, not even looking up, we can fall into condensing God into this character who can be figured out. Or if He can't be figured out, then that means He's just not real. That's the time to go find the sunrise.
Don't let your walk with God be only sunrises. Don't let it only be reading your Bible in the same place with the same highlighter with the same mindset, either.
Here are links, please please check them out. I hope that this week you'll go find a sunrise. Take a blanket and your Bible and your journal and listen to this song. I hope you feel very small and very safe.
Louie Giglio- "How Great is Our God."
John Mark McMillan- "Future Past."