Take a moment for the sunrise – Psalm 19:4-5
My morning routine generally has me up and at it long before the roosters announce the coming of a new day. We live on a plateau of farmland with a half-dozen other families and our house just happens to be facing east. We didn't plan it that way it's just built parallel with the little country road that connects a couple of winding two lane's which run through the county and double back on themselves so often your GPS overheats. Unless you're from around here getting lost is pretty likely.
Our place is surrounded on three sides by farmland which currently is thick with deep green winter wheat that, judging from watching deer hop their way through it, seems to be about three feet tall. Beyond the alfalfa, to the east, is a tree-line of various hardwoods that form a bumpy horizon line from our front porch. Beyond them, it's nothing but sky all the way to Europe, or so it seems.
Like a lot of people, I get pretty focused when I'm working. It's a trance of sorts where you think and hear and concentrate so deeply that you're only really physically present. Your mind is elsewhere. I'm self-conscious of this so I prefer to work alone because I get completely oblivious to the outside world.
But I've programmed my brain, by repetition, that as soon as my eyes notice a little light coming through the window, an alarm sounds in my head. It's not audible, but more like my conscious self whacks my sub-conscious self in the head, letting me know it's almost sunrise. And I set down whatever I'm working on and grab my phone and head to the front porch. I don't even think about it. My focused morning interrupted, my train of thought gone, productivity postponed and the new day put on hold – there is something more important than what I was doing going on.
Jesus is coming back.
I get out to the porch and usually sit down on an old white rocker as darkness gives way to light and watch the glow on the horizon to the east. I can see the black tree line taking shape in the distance and slowly the wheat changes from nighttime black to dark, blue-green, separating it from the darker tree line. Above the trees are black clouds and above them an endless sky with disappearing stars. And the sun slowly peeks through the tree line, the sky turns various colors based on the cloud cover. Then the sun makes it's way up, slightly, beyond the clouds, glowing bright. Burning through, lighting up the morning sky.
I catch several frames on my iPhone camera, but mostly just watch and think. And pray.
"In (the heavens) He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race." Psalm 19:4b-5
Jesus' return is likened to a bridegroom coming out of his chamber in the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25. All ten were waiting for the bridegroom, all ten believed he would come, but when he finally did only half of them were prepared. The other half were shopping. The point is not that if you're shopping you will miss our Lord's return. The point is to be ready whatever you are doing.
With as busy as we all are it is easy to forget. When you are going through rough times, trials, pain or sickness – or even smooth, somewhat easy times of prosperity and health, the second coming of Christ doesn't seem like it applies to your real life. What does it matter? "I'm going through stuff.." "I've got a deadline.." But it does.
Even as His first coming inaugurated a New Covenant between God and mankind for salvation and the remission of sin through His finished work on the cross. His resurrection, ascension and promise to return ensures us that the rottenness of this old world is going to change as well. That's next on the agenda. The Lord of Creation is going to renew and restore everything. Creation knows this and groans, longing for Him to come. Creation watches the sunrise each morning in expectation. The sunflowers raise their heads and turn, the deer stop shoulder-deep in the alfalfa and watch, every morning the world is reminded that Jesus is coming back to make all things right.
I have the perfect vantage point for this wonderful daily reminder of Jesus' return, and sometimes I still miss it. Maybe you don't have it so easy. Your circumstances are unique. If so, you need to figure out what He has set apart to remind you that He is coming soon. Those roses you should stop to smell? The light in your child's eyes as they wake each morning hungry and eager to learn? Little birds perched on the power lines singing, breaking the silence of your walk to the bus? It could be anything.
Paul and Barnabas said, "Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." Acts 14:17
That is, there are witnesses to the promises of God all around us, even in things like a full belly and rain. All these things are to remind us of Gods love and that Jesus hasn't left us to fend for ourselves. He reminds us every day that He remembers His promise to return.
And one day, our Bridegroom will come again, the "Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings" Malachi 4:2
Do yourself a favor, take a moment for the sunrise.