There are few things that inspire quiet reflection, even melancholy self-examination than the setting of the sun when viewed from the Golden Coast. The setting sun can be viewed from the dunes without interruption because the whole expanse of Lake Michigan lies to the west. The lake is very wide at this point, about eighty to ninety miles, so that the curvature of the earth causes the horizon to be water as far as the eye can see. Because the waves action is relatively more quiet than the oceans, there is often a more brilliant light path leading to the setting sun. Further, the cloudiness of the weather that moves from west to east as it crosses the humidity of the open water makes for many varied and dramatic “sunscapes” of different hues and color. Not one is the same as another. Often the sun bursts from under the clouds as it sets in a last few brilliant moments of color.
Probably the most memorable sunset I have ever seen (other than the one’s I have seen with my wife, of course) followed a day filled with thunderstorms and rough windy weather in the month of September, several years ago. I was near the shore in Muskegon when the sun burst from the clouds overhead as it was setting. Everything, including the marching rows of clouds turned a brilliant gold color. It was the purest gold color I have ever seen in the sky. The heavens and the earth were literally shining with it. Ten minutes later it was gone; the sun had completely set.
I was humbled to witness that sunset. God’s glory shown forth with great power. In the Scriptures the color gold denotes the holiness of God. The day the whole world saw His holiness. The reflection of that light on all things spoke of the coming day of judgment when all things will be measured by the holiness of our glorious King and purified or destroyed by fire. It also pictured the New Jerusalem with its gold in the glory of the new creation.
The judgment day was pictured that evening in a special way. However, the setting of the sun speaks every day of the coming end of all things. It reminds us that we must be ready to face a holy God. It reminds us that we must be covered with the holiness of the blood of Christ. His righteousness is our only hope and comfort. Yes, it is a sign of the end. It is also a sign of hope, hope of the resurrection and everlasting fellowship with God in the new heavens and earth.
The next time you witness a spectacular sunset, remember that in the beauty of the imaginary rivers, mountains and creatures you see there is an amazing witness to the handiwork of the Creator that points to the end of all things. May you have the hope and anticipation that belongs to those covered by His holiness.
The Golden Sunset
With gold may the things I see be blushed,
My heart in turmoil then be hushed,
All that transpires from day to day,
As guides and patterns along the way,
That leads me home one day with Thee.
With gold may the things I see remind,
That I the truth of life may find,
No matter what is of value here,
Compared to Thee I’ll not hold dear,
That I may be home one day with Thee.
For when the silver cord shall break,
And I my final rest shall take,
‘Tis with the golden sunset hues,
That by Thy holiness I’ll be infused,
Forever to dwell at home with Thee.
Deane Wassink, April, 2001