Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Into the Sunset

(This is the last article my uncle,Rev.Dr. Theodore Williams, wrote before he went to be with the LORD)

Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming,when no one can work “(John 9:4). He was talking about the sun set in each life.

There are different stages of life we all go through if the Lord grants us life. Each stage has its ups and downs.Blessed is the person who has learned to accept, enjoy and use it for the Lord. This is the month of Thanksgiving and let us celebrate the stage of life in which we are, each one of us, boys and girls, young people, men and women and senior citizens who are walking into the sunset and let us express our Thanksgiving.

The Lord said, “For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go our and leap like calves released from the stall “(Malachi 4:2). In Luke 1:78 Zechariah prophesied, “The rising sun will come to us from heaven.”

The time of sunrise is a time of joy, hope and strength. This is the experience of childhood and youth. No clouds in the sky, many desires, plans and ambitions loom large over the horizon. Standing at the threshold of life, the sky seems to be the limit. If we do not allow sin to make inroads and take control and if we keep our desires and plans committed to the Lord, it is a road of victory and fulfillment. We can thank our Lord for His continued protection and guidance.

Then there is the noonday experience. Our physical, intellectual and emotional powers are at their height. To achieve, climb high and reach out for the top rung of the ladder seems to be the passion and the drive. The danger is that we may become driven people and not a God-led or God-directed people. There can be emotional and spiritual accidents and catastrophes manifested in the family life and in the spiritual life. This too can be a time of Thanksgiving and Joy provided we have the Lord as the Captain of the ship and not assume mastership of our own destinies.

Finally there is the sunset. Some of us including myself are in this stage of life. We do not know how long it will be before the sun will set but we are moving into it. There is so much to give thanks to the Lord for. We can thank Him for life itself. He has saved us from 30 Dec. 09 / Jan. 2010 serious illnesses and deadly accidents and brought us thus far. We can thank Him for the spiritual enrichment and the spiritual heights through which He has led us. For the privilege of being useful to Him and to others and for making our lives meaningful we can thank Him.

There are struggles and battles peculiar to the sunset period. There is the struggle against loneliness. This is not just the absence of company or people around us. You may live in a crowded family with umpteen relatives around you each one trying to help you and order you around. Or, you may have a lot of friends offering their counsel and advice. In the midst of all this, you may have a gnawing sense of loneliness, of being an orphan. Bereavement might have robbed you of the constant companionship of a spouse. You might have had your fights, arguments and cold war sessions but the fact that she or he was there was a source of strength. But now, you feel cruelly alone! It is at such times that we remember the words of our Lord, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). He spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit to be our companion for ever. Is this not an occasion of Thanksgiving? There is the struggle against loss.

Sometime back I received Dr John Stott’s personal newsletter. He is moving into the sunset with poise and dignity. One of the things he mentions is the list of things he misses which he has lost. In his prime time he traversed the length and breadth of this world preaching and teaching the Word of God and enjoying his hobby of bird watching. But now, he is confined to a wheel chair, so dependent on others. The risen Christ told Peter, “When you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18).

We have celebrated our independence and self sufficiency. Now is the time to celebrate the fact that God is our Strength and we can lean upon Him and also thank Him for those whom He has given in the family of God who are there for us. Is this not a matter of Thanksgiving?

There is also the time when we part with our possessions and past time which we cherished and held close to us. The house we built, the hobbies we cherished and the recreation which we enjoyed most, all of this we have to part with. There are physical handicaps and ailments which prevent us from doing those things which we did earlier. There is the loss of opportunities and avenues of service. But there are unexpected opportunities that come at sunset. So there is much material for Thanksgiving.

Of course, the sunset is not the end. It leads to a glorious new day and heavenly glory. Hallelujah!

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