By Lois Litz, Spiritual Care.

Sunset View Beach, it was aptly if not imaginatively named, and many of my childhood memories were formed looking west to watch the sun set across the water. As is the case so often in nature, it was the subtle changes which kept the view breathtaking year after year, summer after summer. From May to September we spent many weekends at the lake.

Evenings would move into night with infinite variety, wild and stormy, quiet and serene, with twilight bringing a magic of its own. Perhaps the clarity of memory was not just from the perfect view, but the fact that those weekends were a slower pace than normal life. A pace which encouraged me to savor the moment, creating mental images that stood the test of time and still call up the contentment and optimism of those years.

It is interesting to contemplate God’s design in creating such beauty as part of the ending of a day. For often in life we want to avoid endings as they represent loss and the pain of separation accompanying that loss. We try to hang on to the things we know, friends, family, positions and possessions. We try to control events and people, hoping to extend what is familiar, and put off the moment when things irrevocably change.

A sunset may be a reminder that there are elements of God’s creative restoration even in endings. We need to still our anxious hearts to look for them. It is in the quiet moments we are able to remember dawn will come again with a beauty of its own. This belief does not preclude genuine sorrow, for dawn comes after the darkness of night, but our faith that dawn will happen, allows us to watch for God’s presence. In the contrasts of life, God reminds us not to lose heart, but to watch for the promised dawn even as the sunset fades.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me
 -Psalm 51:12(NIV)