Morning on the Boardwalk: What’s behind & What’s ahead.
(Written last fall season)
Every so often by God’s wonderful providence, I wake up before dawn breaks. On those occasions, if the weather is right and my body feels up to it, I’ll take myself down to the boardwalk for a (mostly) walk and run. This time of the year, the air is crisp before the sun comes up, which is all the more incentive to get moving at a brisk pace.
This past week, God’s wonderful providence “came through” and I found myself once again out there in the cool morning air, but something struck me that hadn’t before. As I walked the stairs to the boardwalk, I turned to my left and way down the end of the walkway, you could see the faint glimmer of light beginning to breakthrough. The sky near the Verrazano Bridge, was deep blue but getting lighter and at the bottom you could see the orange line of dawn making its way into the morning. It was beautiful.
Still standing in the same spot, I now turned to my right and I can see the boardwalk disappearing in the dark shades of the night that still remained. Any illumination at all coming from the lights overhead. Not even a hint of the sun breaking through. It’s always been there, every morning on that boardwalk, but today for some reason I stopped and looked. It was a remarkable contrast. It felt like I had a foot in two worlds. One in darkness and the other in emerging light. For the record my walk always begins in the same direction, towards the dawn, toward the light of the new day.
That is my walk literally and that is, hopefully, my walk in life. I know while on this earth my walk is always towards the light of God’s Gospel. It’s a never fully arrived kind of path I walk on because in the reality of this world, God’s truth dispels the darkness of my sins DAILY. Oh, I can look back and see the darkness that I’ve put behind me. Still, looking ahead is not all sunshine and blue skies, but a burgeoning light that is displacing the darkness. I feel like I live in a state of increasing light and of perpetual dawn. There is always the darkness of my past sins behind me and the encroaching reality of my current sins around me. By God’s forgiveness and grace, there is always that light breaking through, God’s truth showing forth, pushing further into the darkness what sins came well before and that which was just done.
Some people might find this description disheartening and far from encouraging. Not me. The light that is ALWAYS breaking through is CHRIST. It is the truth of what he accomplished on the cross for me. The only thing I bring to this picture is total darkness. If I can see any light at all in my life, it’s because God has gifted me with the eyes of faith to see it and because Christ, the light of the world, is present.
Though I look ahead and still see some darker hues, I see those dark colors being challenged by the light that is ever-increasing and will one day cast all darkness from me when I am finally resting in sinless glory. That is the hope I have in the salvation that Christ brings. I am thankful that as I look on ahead towards the light of the Gospel that the only thing I could leave behind me is darkness and sin. I am even more thankful because as I rest more in the grace of the gospel I see how much deeper the darkness is that I am leaving behind.
If you have been discouraged by the sin and struggles present in your life, please know, and take this to heart that to even know that there IS a reason to be discouraged, means a dawn is breaking and light is pushing through. That light, that hope is Christ and the forgiveness, mercy and grace that he brings with him.