The sun is slowly rising in the east over the Judean Desert Mountains. I say slowly, but really it is rising at the perfect pace at which God intended. The mountains are a soft, gray silhouette surrounded by a very faint blue, fading into a pale, blush pink as the sky rises behind them. They’re ancient mountains. And just as they watched over Abraham close to 4,000 years ago, they watch over me now.
If the many stones and grains of dust could speak they would tell of a man and his family. An ordinary man with an extraordinary calling. A man who was called a friend of God.
The sun continues to rise. Its colors are soft. Like sidewalk chalk sprawled across a residential walking path. They’re not quite the vibrant oil pastels smudged into a white canvas I was hoping for. But still, they captivate me. They hold my attention. And although I can see my breath before me and my skin is prickled from the cold, I remain atop this balcony because I know before me is a lesson for the ages.
I breathe in the clean desert air as camels and donkeys sing in the distance accompanied by the crowing of a lonesome bird in harmony with a howling dog.
Today’s sunrise delivers a message to me. The sun rises in purity. It is not tainted by the opinion of the people it overshadows. It is 6:34 a.m. I’ve been sitting atop this sukkah awaiting its arrival for 15 minutes. And it arrived exactly when God sent it to.
If I stand now and say, “Sun, I’ve been waiting for you for 15 minutes! You’re late!” It doesn’t dim its brilliance, nor sink an inch and apologize. No! It continues to rise, never lacking one fragment of purpose.
If I prefer that it hold its rays another hour so that I can sleep in, it only continues to rise. It is defiant. It was sent on this day and at this time for a purpose designed by the God of the universe and it will not relent. Tomorrow’s sunrise is not affected by whether or not today’s colors and brilliance appeal to the desires of man.
God sends it each day to serve many specific purposes: to give light and warmth and to cause life to grow and reproduce. And each day in boldness and radiant confidence it rises in pure unadulterated purpose.
My Lord, how many times have I hung my head, or slumped my shoulders, or hidden my tears, and turned from your purpose for me? And as I sit in this desert place where many a prophet heard from you, my mind still grows restless by the echo of old words.
“Your ways are too radical.”
“Your style is too emotional.”
“Your passion makes me uncomfortable.”
I stand before an unrelenting sun, yet I’m tempted to hide because of the opinions of man.
Lord, forgive me for digging my heels in behind this mountain. Forgive me for watching my surety die and for willingly burying it where it fell. You are the resurrection and the life. I implore you by your own mercies, breathe life upon me once more. I tune my ears to your voice and no longer to the opinions of man. Give me grace to rise in your time, surrounded by your brilliance, to perform your purpose in unmarred purity. I am yours.
As a woman, as a leader, as a wife and mother, quite simply, as a human, too often I have allowed the opinions of man to push me into a dark corner where I have quietly resolved to watch and listen. There’s nothing wrong with watching and listening, of course. And the Lord and my family know that I can definitely do more watching and listening. But when the gentle, yet firm nudging of the Holy Spirit suggests, no, demands that I step out and shine for His name’s sake, and I dig my heels into a corner, I am being disobedient.
Disobedience takes hold of my hand and leads me, head hanging low, eyes to the ground, walking down the path of condemnation.
I know I’m not alone in this. Someone else needs to be reminded that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness! If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
It’s 6:50 a.m. There she is in incandescence. Today her train is a soft, yet auspicious yellow. Tomorrow it may be blush, or violet. Regardless, she’ll be resolute. She’ll fulfill her purpose without hesitating.
And so will I.