Watching the sun go down over a lake or watching it slip behind a mountain, I cannot help but feel a sense of peace. It means the day is almost complete and it will soon be time to lay aside all the implements of work and turn my attention to rest. (If you didn’t know, I love my sleep!)
As I reflect on the inevitable winding down of our lives on earth, I like the image of the sunset. It speaks of peacefulness, and the anticipation of rest. It speaks of time with unique beauty, and speaks of the completion of tasks of this life.
This month we have had back-to-back Celebrations of Life. As I write, I am thinking about tomorrow’s service, celebrating the life of a man who for over twenty years battled several forms of cancer. Though the doctors predicted he would be dead decades ago, he kept holding on, making the best of every day. To talk with him you would not know he was sick. His focus was on the goodness of God, not the disease within his body.
Just before Christmas he was told he would not see Christmas. He rallied and not only saw Christmas, but the New Year, Valentines Day and almost made Easter. As I went to his house to visit he continually turned the conversation back to the goodness of God. His sun was setting, but he still knew where to find the source of light – it was in Jesus. He saw the beauty even as the sun was setting.
The Apostle Paul penned these words as he caught a glimpse of the sun going down on his life:
… the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
It appears that the Apostle did not fear the sunset of life, but actually looked forward to it. He saw it as a time of peaceful rest, the completion of the day.
– Pastor Gary