I have grown up in the church, so I’ve heard a lot of sermons in my day. To tell the truth, I don’t remember most of them. I can’t tell you one that stands out from the rest or about a sermon that I’ll never forget. I remember many from when I was older, but as a kid growing up sermons didn’t exactly stick out in my mind.
There are moments and illustrations that I do remember, though. One was an illustration about the night watch. The night watch were soldiers that stood guard throughout the night. I don’t remember the whole sermon or even the exact point of it, but I do remember the image of a guard waiting for the dawn.
I can’t imagine having to stand guard all night long, just staring out into the darkness. The boredom would drive me crazy, but even more terrifying is the darkness. Standing all by myself in the dark. That is a scary thought. Even as a kid it made an impression on me.
But when the cracks of dawn begin to show on the horizon, the guard sees a new day being born. Now it is morning and people can be seen coming out of their houses. The streets fill with chatter of a new day. He is no longer alone and everything is so much brighter because the sun has risen.
THE SUN ALSO RISES
One of my favorite writers is Ernest Hemingway. In my very early college years I had to read The Sun Also Rises. I remember going to the drive-in movie theater and reading this book during the intermission. I remember the book, but I have no idea what movies I saw that night.
I’m not going to get into the plot of the book, but I will recommend it. I think I’ve read it about four times. I will mention where it gets its title, though. On the first page of the book Hemingway quotes Ecclesiastes 1:5, “The sun also rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.”
There is a lot you can pull out from this scripture, but I like where is says “hastens to the place where it rises”. It makes it feel like the light is rushing to chase away the darkness. We may not like the way the sun must go down, but while it is night the sun is hastening to rise again.
We can always rely on the sun rising. It doesn’t take much faith that the sun will come up everyday, but for some reason we get hung up that it won’t rise in out spiritual lives. Sometimes we are the night watch and it is pitch black. We feel alone, afraid, and lose hope because the sun isn’t up yet, but the sun always rises.
To use a play on words, the Son has risen. Even though we have moments of darkness, Jesus is always rushing to bring us a new dawn and those dark moments cause us to appreciate his light even more. Those dark moments remind me to have hope and look to the horizon because Jesus will always come with new dawns.
IT’S ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN
This song inspires me to always have hope and let go of the past. Hope is the fuel out of our darkest hour. I believe in this song’s lyric, It is always darkest before the dawn. When we feel things can’t get any worse is when Jesus comes with new opportunities.
I think our lives are much like the night watch. We get called to stand guard in the darkness, but it is only for a moment. Sometimes those moments seem to last longer than we expect, but we always have hope that the sun is coming up. Christ is rushing to our aid even though we don’t see it at the time.
Faith fuels our hope in those moments. Hebrews 1:11, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” We have faith that the sun will rise. Even though we can’t see the sun, we know it is coming. Jesus is coming. He’s one his way now and he is bringing a new dawn.