Outpacing the Sun

Well, summer is officially at an end. School starts here at Our Savior this Monday.

I’ve seen a few social media posts from various folks noting how they can’t wait for their kids to get back to school. I’ve seen others from people with children who are dreading the return. They dread it because they enjoy having the kids home all day. They enjoy the sights and sounds, as well as the more leisurely pace when it comes to obligatory things. I’d have to agree. And to be quite honest, the week leading into each new school year, I always get a little anxious. For one thing, I think this happens because my awake time has already begun to outpace the sun and I know that it’ll be the same for the kids. What I mean is that for most of the year, I’m already awake and working well before the sun rises and I’m still at it long after the sun sets. It isn’t this way in the summer, and it’s as if the sun knows it. Leading along with a gentler pace, there are times when the rising sun through our bedroom windows is the first thing I see when I open my eyes. And it is at the end of a reasonable day from the step of my front porch that I see the sun beaming a goodbye stream on the western horizon, telling me it’s later than I think and urging me to bed, but also reminding me that it’ll be sure to wake me when it’s time.

It’s when I think of the ramped up and overly-busy schedules combined with the shorter days of Fall and Winter that I begin to get restless. I wonder how I’m going to do it all. Sometimes I find myself doing something that I’d be willing to bet you do, too. I begin segmenting my life into forward-looking timeframes. “Only forty-eight more days until All Saints Day,” I’ll say. Or perhaps I’ll whisper, “Only fifty-five days until Christmas.” I’ll do this throughout the year, knowing that when I arrive at each particular point, I’m that much closer to a time when the pace will lessen and the sun will once again greet me in my bed rather than after the morning school bell.

But there’s something else that hovers in the midst of all of this. In fact, no matter the time of year, it’s always there. It’s a short, caressing Word from Jesus to an anxious heart of worry:

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34).

The Lord preached these words to a group of Christians—folks like you and me—living in the trenches of a life filled with plenty of things about which to be concerned. He preached them having already offered a powerful Gospel of love—a good Word that delivered into their hearts the message that He is their Savior, that He has them well in hand, and will never fail. And so when I hear these words echoing in my anxious skull, they almost always come out of my mouth in the way that Saint Paul enunciated them to the church at Philippi: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:6-7).

You know what’s happening here in the midst of my worrisome state? The Holy Spirit is prodding my flesh and bones to know and acknowledge that I have a God who loves me. The proof is resident in the giving of His Son into death for my sins. He will carry me through both the times of leisure and the times of challenge.

I have nothing to fear. Period.

I pray the same peace for you and your family, that God would give to you a tranquil heart whenever you find yourself facing an uneasy moment. Trust Him. He is sure to provide all that you require. And I dare say that in comparison to the fiery ball around which our planet spins day after day after day, there is a much better Son who has risen, and by this, His time among us never sets. He never disappears over the horizon. His face is always shining on us. And with that, no matter the time of year, we can go to bed in peace and awake again in the same joy we had when we closed our eyes.