As Christians, we are meant to see rainbows as reminders of God’s abundant mercy. He set the rainbow in the sky as a permanent and world-wide indication of His grace. Though sin deserves eradication like cancer deserves chemotherapy, God waits for us to repent and offers reconciliation after each act of sin – time and time again. The amount of sin in the world deserves another global flood. But, our God is the God of mercy. This mercy, says the Lord, is also seen in the rising and setting of the sun.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shallnot have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers.’” (Jeremiah 33:20–21, ESV)
Each time we awake and see that the darkness of last night was expelled by dawning of this morning, we are to remember that God is “making all things new” (Rev. 21:4). His steady hand over all creation is unwavering. None of us sit and wonder if the sun will rise tomorrow. Why do we doubt God’s goodness? We are confident that we will have dinner when the sun falls, but we doubt that God will save us in our time of need. I have more faith in nightfall than I do in God’s providence. I am more sure of the morning than I am of the one who “makes His sun rise” (Matthew 5:45). I have more confidence in the rising of the sun than I do in the One who makes the sun rise. Indeed, the One who made His Son rise.
God is so patient. Even though my lack of faith is objectively ridiculous – and worse, sinful – He reminds me to look to the rising and setting of the sun as a guarantee of His providential and salvific care for me. I should have more confidence in Him than I do that the sun will rise tomorrow. What would it feel like to have that kind of faith? I haven’t spent much time (if any at all) worrying whether I’ll see light in the morning. What if I spent a similarly negligible amount of time doubting God’s goodness?
As a man with indwelling sin, I will continue to struggle against the fleshly tendency to doubt the goodness of God. Yet here, once again, God’s might transcends my weakness. First, I doubt and He responds by being faithful and illustrating His faithfulness by the rising and setting of the sun. Then, I doubt again, and He responds by showing me that His faithfulness is built upon the wood of the cross. Christ paid for my doubting and bids me only to hope in Him. No condemnation, no fury, no deserved punishment, only a loving embrace. Though my sin is as constant as the sun’s beams, His mercy is as steady as Christ, through whom the sun’s beams were made.
Here’s an invitation to remind yourself of God’s goodness each time you see the sun set and rise. When night falls, remember His salvation from the darkness of sin and condemnation. When the light of the morning rises, remember the resurrection of the Son of God (and quote to yourself) “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). We’re like sheep and we stray, but God’s promises are literally written in the sky so that we might bring them to remembrance.
One last thing: many of us often don’t feel like the things above are true. We know them with our minds, but don’t feel them in our hearts. Fortunately, you cannot find a single Bible verse that condemns you for not feeling the truths of the Bible. A schizophrenic might think that the government is listening to him through the water faucet – and genuinely believe it to be so – but that doesn’t make it true. Similarly, sinful hearts might doubt God’s goodness, but that fact can’t change His disposition to you any more than closing your eyes can make the sun set. So, don’t feel condemned if you don’t feel these things. Instead, choose to reject your feelings and place as much hope as you can in the truths of Scripture. Perfection in this goal is not only not required, it is not possible for us this side of eternity. Only Christ did this perfectly and we all live in His loving shadow. He is pleased with our imperfect attempts to trust in Him. Indeed, that’s all they ever are.