I’m sorry to say that this is not a picture of a white sandy beach in the Caribbean.
That’s a white SNOWY winter beach on a cold, overcast, cloudy day. But what is that I see shimmering on the surface of the water? I do believe that’s a reflection of sunlight!! I couldn’t see the sun, but its rays made an impression on me.
Do you ever doubt the existence of the sun when the weather is cold, cloudy and gray? I’m pretty sure I know the answer! Of course not. The sun is an unfailing necessity of life on earth, even if we emotionally feel that it’s disappointing us.
But this will not always be the case. There will be a day when the sun lets us down, and no longer gives the light we need. Jesus told his disciples, “Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time! ‘At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.'” (Mark 13:23-25 NLT) This was not really anything new to the disciples’ ears, for Isaiah and Joel had prophesied these things hundreds of years earlier (see Isaiah 13:10, 34:4; Joel 2:10).
Revelation mentions the sun’s role in being a tool of God’s wrath: “Then I heard a mighty voice from the Temple say to the seven angels, ‘Go your ways and pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.’. . . Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire.” (Revelation 16:1, 8)
From ceasing to provide light and warmth to scorching everyone with its fire, the sun’s suddenly not seeming quite so dependable to me! But should I lie awake at night, trembling in dread of the days to come? Of course not.
The sun may fail, but my God never will. Paul writes to the church in Colosse, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
Life on this earth seems mighty real, doesn’t it? But it will come to an end, one way or another, and we will find ourselves living in another place. Our destination is of our own choosing, either with God in heaven or in utter “darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30)
If we have chosen to follow Christ, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. John records his vision of the final judgment this way: “And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
But what about those whose names are written in that book? John also records his vision of heaven: “I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. . . Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 21:22-27)
Have you chosen your destination? Your body will die one day, unless Jesus returns first. If you have chosen to follow Christ, there is no need to fear anything that this life can bring. We are but dust, and our lives here on earth are like the morning mist. Whatever happens here is only temporary, but our next life is permanent!
When you see troubling signs in the world around you, remember that there’s more to come. How you respond to alarming days will reveal where your trust lies. Peter reminded the crowds of Joel’s words, “The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Acts 2:20-21)
God is our unfailing source of life, infinitely more so than the sun. We can’t imagine the sun failing us, but the Bible tells us that it’s going to happen! God, on the other hand, is the same as He was before He even created the sun. What He has said is set in stone, and cannot be changed. We can count on it! “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19) Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” (Mark 13:31)
We can be at rest when the world is losing its mind if we know how the story ends, and we know the One Who holds our future in his hands.
What things in your life are you counting on to be faithfully dependable? Are they reliable enough to carry you into forever?
Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.
Free extra: I had to laugh at these seagulls. They were nowhere near my car, until I rolled down my window to take a picture! They flew right over, asking for a handout, but there was none!