As surely as the sun rises, he will appear.
Recently I was at a retreat where we got up early to watch the sunrise. It was cold and dark. Seven brave, bundled up, sleepy women traipsed down the hill together to a spot near the lake to wait.
The fog was lifting off the water in praise to its Maker. The birds were singing, the horses neighing and somewhere off in the distance the cows were adding the bass while the woodpeckers tapped out the percussion. The symphony of all creation was joining in the angel’s song.
I prayed, “Let my silence sing your praise.”
Even before we could see the sun it was lighting the dark, bringing warmth to the cold. I thought of Psalm 130:6: I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. And then I waited for the sun to appear.
What must the prophets have felt, those who waited expectantly, the Spirit giving them the glimmer of dawn? Waiting, waiting, waiting with longing for the Son to appear, the Messiah, the Promised One.
I could see it on the distant hill. The sun was up! The sun is here! Shine on me! Yet where I was sitting remained in the shadow of the hillside. I was down in the valley, the valley so low – it was the last place the rays and warmth of the sun would touch that morning.
As I looked upward I could see the sun shining on an airplane some 40,000 feet above me and I was reminded…Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. The Son will shine on you.
I could see the sun’s rays all around us, on the treetops, on the neighboring field, on the airplane – it was like the presence of the Lord: We can’t see Him, but we know He is there because we see evidence of His light all around us.
“Be patient,” I heard. The valley is the place where all the rain runs to. It is where the grass is greenest, the trees strongest, the roots deepest. He pours His love down and it collects in the valleys into streams and rivers flowing down providing life-giving sustenance to all it touches. As I looked up from within the shadow of the valley I could see the sunlight coming closer to me, the surrounding treetops basking in the light.
My eyes shift their focus to a horse in the adjacent pasture. His strength and the power of his body are evident. Yet, like me, he is waiting patiently. Like me, he, too, is standing in the shadow. As I watch the horse begins actively eating. I am reminded that while I await the brightness of the Son’s light to fall upon me, I, too, can be active:
… Chewing, meditating on God’s Word
… Standing on His promises
… Resting in the assurance His Word gives
… Listening for the Spirit’s call
… Trusting in my Savior
The sun has reached the others up on the hillside and they begin to bask in its light. I hear them laughing and rejoicing, but I am still sitting here in the shadow, in the valley waiting, hoping, trusting, knowing. He has given them a different perspective. They are in a different place, yet His light is the same. His promises are as true for me in the shadow as they are for those in the light.
… and the horse still hasn’t moved. Stalwart, steadfast, strong, sure.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I will hope and wait on Him.
Peeking, glimmering, shining through the trees – over the hilltop – it is good to remember that the valley is the last place the sunshine hits.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
I see the Son! He has appeared.
Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.
Hallelujah! (In my heart I keep hearing Handel’s Messiah)
Have a Sweet Christmas filled with Sonlight!