Recently I had the opportunity to watch a beautiful Florida sunset. I was in Florida with two of my boys. We’d travelled there from Iowa to be with my 96-year-old grandfather who had fallen and was in the ICU. We’d spent many hours with him in the hospital and then helped him transition into Hospice. We had taken a much needed break from a very difficult week and gone to a favorite pier on the Gulf of Mexico to get some fresh air and rest a little.
As I watched the spectacular sunset, I couldn’t help but see the parallel of my grandfather’s life. He is experiencing the sunset of a life well lived. He has no regrets and has been heard to say quite often, “I’ve had a good life. No one has had a life like mine.” But now his life is coming to an end and the sun is setting.
As we watched together, my sons and I, the younger one said, “Mom, isn’t it neat that while we’re watching the sun setting, someone else is seeing it rise?” I thought about that and realized that God was trying to tell me something so simple but so profound.
The end of a life is not the end but the beginning of something new for a believer in Christ. It’s also not the end for those of us left behind, but is the beginning of a new chapter where we can continue the legacy of what we’ve learned from someone we love. We can all choose to leave a legacy to the generations to follow. Each one of us can impact someone else’s life and leave the world a better place because we tried to make a difference. That’s what my grandfather did.
My grandfather’s last words to my sons were, “Remember fellas, family is important. Make it good.” Perhaps they will be heard to say those same words to their great grandchildren sometime in the future. They can choose to follow Christ and impact future generations. Psalm 103:17 tells us But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children (NIV)
God has been showing me that this principle of sunset and sunrise applies to all aspects of life. Whenever there is an end to something, whether it be a relationship, a job, or just a season in one place, there is also a new beginning. Something new always follows.
It’s okay to grieve the end of something but allowing yourself to find hope in the promise of a new beginning is what will bring the healing. I will miss my grandfather so much but I know I will see him again. In that I can rejoice while I begin the next chapter of the life God has given me.
The last part of Psalm 30:5 says Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Indeed, joy comes in the morning, with the sunrise of a new day.