I hate flying. I hate my ears popping, I hate the stress of going through security. I hate wondering if I have to check my bag at the gate because the flight is overbooked, and I hate being away from home. Even on my most recent trip, a tropical vacation, I couldn't be calmed. Despite the prospect of waves roaring and palm trees swaying, my mind was still fixed on security lines, turbulence, and customs forms.
I live in the upper right corner of the great state of Ohio, where snow piles as high as fence tops and Seasonal Affective Disorder plagues and flourishes. My husband and I splurged on a trip to Mexico this winter to celebrate the trifecta of his PhD graduation, Christmas, and our upcoming 5th
anniversary. But also, we wanted to escape the frigid temperatures and see the sun for the first time in months.
We had an early morning flight and the winter sun still hadn't woken up. As we flew through the air at 600 miles an hour, I gazed out the window. Most of the time it was just black, blue, and purple with the occasional gray haze of cloudy mists. But as the earth turned, a vivid red peered over the horizon, the Sun playing a game of peek-a-boo. The clouds formed a sea beneath us, their grayness transforming to a pale blue, and each of their ridges forming what looked like waves, ripples, and tides. With the sea of clouds below, the sun rose above. In the cold, pressurized cabin, I already felt like I was near the ocean. Vibrant reds and oranges took over. With the world's rotation, what was black and night became alive and waking.
I watched the Sun creep up in the sky, red and loud, and I rested in the assurance that tomorrow she will do the same. And the next day. And the next. And if I'm so certain that a celestial body will do as it ought, should I not remain far more convinced that the Eternal Son will be even more sure?
This was not quite the type of turbulence I expected. Rather than bumps in the air, I found bumps in my heart and mind. Each bump demanded tending and ironing. I've always struggled with doubt and looking too far ahead into the future. I remind myself often that God is seldom early, but never late. And for a girl who is always early, that's a difficult lesson to learn. But the sunrise reminded me of how sure the Lord is. Always on time, steadfast, immovable, seeing things I never will or can see.
This beautiful portrait that God painted for me through that airplane window revealed a parable. Each day, believers are told a story by God Himself. Every morning we're given the mercy of a sunrise, the hope that Jesus Christ will one day call us into the clouds with Him.
This world isn't right, it isn't good. It's incredibly injured by our own sins, and it isn't getting better. Each of us are touched by death, discouraged, and afflicted. Whether it's job loss, a case of the sniffles, or turbulence on a plane, the earth groans a story that things have been injured and separated from the goodness it once beheld. Amidst the cries of the suffering and labor pains, though, the Sun tells us a story, steady and true. Jesus Christ is coming. I don't say this as a fantastical prediction; I'm not making plans to liquidate my assets nor am I marking my calendar and watching for signs in the sky. I'm relying on the hope that Jesus Christ will rescue us from this earth. Nothing more and nothing less.
The sun proclaims our hope every day: the Son will rise. With each eastern dawn, we ought to be reminded that Jesus will one day, too, rise in the east. He will redeem His people, we will meet Him in the clouds. That is our blessed hope.
Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
And all the tribes of the earth
will mourn over him.
So it is to be. Amen.