I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning by my phone ringing. I fumbled in the darkness until I found it. When I answered, the bright sun of Cambodia greeted me. Getting a Face Time call from the other side of the planet is one of my favorite ways to awaken. As I chatted with Hannah, the sun behind her began to set, painting the sky pink. I looked out my window and saw that my sky was also pink…with the dawn.
Technology is amazing isn’t it? Invisible beams allow me to see images from the other side of the world. However, as I think about it, it isn’t really the images that are so amazing…it is the actual truth that causes me to pause and ponder. Maybe it is because I have recently been teaching the solar system to fourth graders, but it has always seemed to me that it is the sun that moves. That is the way the kids see it too. The sun rises. The sun sets. It is a difficult concept for them to grasp that in truth, it only appears to rise and set. In actuality it doesn’t move at all. WE are the ones moving. You can watch their eyes pop out when this idea hits home, because it doesn’t FEEL like we are moving. It is such an abstract concept to teach that it requires globes and lamps, or a student sun and a spinning-student Earth to SHOW it. And even when they get it and can say it correctly I wonder if they really know what they are saying. I mean, you cannot be in two places at once to observe this phenomena right? Well actually…you can.
My phone time with Hannah was the first time I really felt like we were the ones moving. The sun disappeared from behind her as it came up in front of me. Two sides of the world. Two pink skies. Two different days. Same sun. Scientists would say it’s not complicated. It is simply the way the world turns, but to me, it is nothing short of miraculous, and beautiful to boot. The rotation, the tilt, the heat, the light…all in perfect alignment to make day on one side and night on the other, consistently, day following night and night following day. Such an intricate place we live. Such faithfulness…that we can count on it…set a clock by it even. Maybe I am simple minded, but I cannot make this everyday occurrence an everyday occurrence… because there is nothing ordinary about it. Similar to the rock that hangs in space and glows, the sun is a ball of gas that burns. Worth noting and admiring. It is so easy to take these stunning events for granted and not realize their significance to our lives. Our existence depends on flawless execution of each detail, and yet we complain each morning when the sun comes up. We wish for darkness to remain…hit the snooze button…delay the morning. We cannot, but when it comes we can dread it and curse it. Never stopping to think about what keeps us alive, rarely being grateful for another turn of the Earth.
There is a parallel I can see and I think you can too. I just love when God makes things in nature so plainly show the truth. He is stationary. He is the life source. We rotate. He does not rise and set, or move. We do. He is never absent, he is perfectly faithful…you can set your life-clock to him. Dependable, never wavering…like the sun…and we spin around forgetting to acknowledge our dependence…not even seeing the Truth, that we do not even breathe without him. Instead we think he revolves around us…that it is his job to make things right for us, that he is supposed to keep us from hardship, and make us comfortable and bless us…always bless us. We do not even see how blessed we are until the worst happens and we perceive that we are not….only to find that blessings are entirely different than what we thought they were. Suddenly life as we know it hangs in the balance…and then we see the light…that day and night does not depend on us, but on him. That breathing is a blessing. That morning is a blessing. That small things are the big things, and the things we thought were big are less than tiny.
Seeing the sunset in Cambodia, and rise in Georgia…at the same time reminded me of his faithfulness and my dependence on him. It made me realize that he is faithful to my children no matter where they are in the world, just as he is faithful to me. It helped me to see that it really isn’t all about me…he doesn’t exist to revolve around me. Shock and surprise!! He has arranged every detail of my every breath. One phone call made me grateful for the morning…even when there are days when I would rather be sleeping. Sunrise and sunset, and the truth within them, are a daily message about his faithfulness to me…not the other way around.