Sunsets Should Be Beautiful
Listen to Audio (right click to save)
Ah, sunset! It must be one of the favorite times of the day for photographers and for couples going for a romantic walk. Actually, for just about all of us. I've had the privilege to see the sun sinking beautifully into the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, over many of America's majestic mountain ranges, those flaming desert sunsets, and even from many parts of this world. It just doesn't matter where you are on this planet, sunset is just plain beautiful.
I've had the great joy of being there when the sun rose on the lives of each of our children, and now on the lives of grandchildren who lead our next generation. Beautiful sunrises! But sooner than any of us can comprehend, life's sun has moved across the sky to the West, and it starts to set.
Sunsets should be beautiful, right? Sadly, for many people who are beginning to see the sun of their life move slowly but surely toward sunset, their sunset isn't very beautiful. In the years when you have so much to give, when every day should count more than ever, too many of us actually become uglier as we get older.
Oh, we've all seen it - the older person who is often complaining, self-pitying, demanding. Honestly, it's not very pretty. The older some of us get, the more we can - if we let ourselves - become people who are bitter, picky, mean-spirited. That's the word that describes some folks as their sun moves toward sunset. And self-absorption? That's ugly at any age!
Yes, our later years can have their share of physical pain, disappointed dreams, financial strain, grievous losses, frustrating limitations, and even hurtful neglect. We can't choose our circumstances, but we can, whatever our age, choose our attitude. We can choose what kind of climate we're going to bring with us wherever we are: selfish or unselfish, gentle or harsh, praising or griping, critical or encouraging.
Our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 71, beginning with verse 17, is an exciting perspective as the sun of your life drifts toward the western sky. It's how later life can be when you focus on the faithful God who has been your anchor through it all. "Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come."
This is life with a mission - to be a display window for the grace of God, especially to the next generations. And I can focus my life on showing the love and the greatness of God whether I'm healthy or hurting, living by myself or in a senior housing facility, in a neighborhood, a nursing home, or even a hospital bed. A man or woman on a mission to show Jesus, however I am, wherever I am.
See, if you belong to Jesus, you discover that He's the one who makes our sunset beautiful. And you have this promise from the one who began your life and who will decide when your work is done. It's from Isaiah 46:3-4. He says, "I have upheld you since you were conceived, and have carried you since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
That's why you can say no to the darkness of the sunset years. That's why your sunset can be what a sunset ought to be - unforgettably beautiful.