Living back east, most of our rides were heading west. Which meant, in the afternoons riding into the sun. It always seemed that at 4 pm we would hit the wall of exhaustion after a long day and many miles would hit us, and we would stop. Sometimes a Tootsie Roll and a soda would be enough, sometimes a rest stop to lay your head on the table. It always seemed the last 200 miles, or 3 hours was the longest, yet we were traveling at the same speed we had all day.
But we would make it somehow, and after arriving at our motel, after a brief rest we always felt ready to go again. Secretly though, we were glad to be in for the night. It seemed our riding into the sunset at first was tortuous, every bone in the body hurt, the eyes burned from the sun, but we kept riding into it. We would ride into the sunset but never quite catch it over the horizon. It was always just there in front of us, and we only crossed paths with it when the sun went down. The dusk with its limited light was harder to ride in then the darkness that covered it. It always seemed the sun got bigger as it got lower, and close enough to touch at the same time but always unreachable. All the excitement of the day ridden squeezed in the last 200 miles; but only if heading west.
From out west where we now live, we only seem to go east or north, and going east can be brutal especially in the mornings. You are fresh, but the brightness of the sun also is. It can take the same 200 miles – depending upon time of departure – to get the sun away from your eyes. Maybe that explains why we ride for breakfast, 100 miles, then stop and eat. We have a good start behind us, and after eating, the sun is higher, we are refreshed, and the rest of the day looks bright, no pun intended. Stephen Stills once sang, “don’t look at my shadow it’s behind me…” and although we seem to be riding towards the sun, we never can reach it.
An outstretched arm seems to almost touch it, but yet it is elusive. And so it is as it has for cowboys and their ladies everywhere, we all ride into the sunset and once again we never reach it. And we have the night to dream about tomorrow and the next day’s ride, another sunrise awaits and a new day calling.
Psalm 90, talks of God from everlasting to everlasting:
“Before the mountains were born
Or before You had given birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting,
You are [the eternal] God.”
From vanishing point to vanishing point, from elusive sunset to sunset. He goes back before the beginning and goes past of the future. He is beyond time and space, before the sun coming up, and after it goes down. While we were asleep last night, He was wide-awake preparing the next day for us, planning our ride before we even hit the road.
He lives beyond the sunset, yet many try to catch Him, only to find Him elusive. Yet it is not God who is avoiding us, it is we avoiding Him. We set our own ride, and look for Him in it. We sometimes give Him a choice of rides to bless us, and sometimes He hands the trip planner back marked to us “none of the above.” Road closed, danger ahead. Yet we try to get Him to go our way, when we need to go His way. He is the great I am, and His beginning goes back farther than a vanishing point, and goes on farther than the horizon’s vanishing point.
Yet many claim it is God’s fault when they cannot find Him that all roads lead to Him just not the one they are on right now. They ride endlessly into the sun, but never consider God’s Son: Jesus. They don’t ask for direction, and grumble when they find they are lost. They may pray “God where are you?” but never stop to consider where they are. And what is the first thing you ask someone who needs directions? “Where are you?” For without knowing where you are, you cannot get the directions to go where you want. Little or a lot, lost is lost. We know we are heading east in the morning, the sun tells us so, and we know west is ahead as we head into the sunset. But what if you are in between, or heading north or south, with no sun to guide you? Can you follow your shadow sideways, looking for the light to guide you? How many of us in our trip planning include God, and when we do, ask Him rather than tell him?
Anyone who rides, looks at the skies before heading out. Listen to the wind, and dress accordingly. We trust the things we see, but not the One we don’t see. We trust the creation, but not the Creator. We ride into the sun, but not with the Son. We lean on our own understanding, not the One who was there at the day of creation. And so many of us, ride into the sunset seeing His creation, but never seeing Him. No matter how fast, or how slow we ride, we cannot touch the horizon, it somehow always seems just out of reach. But you can touch the Son, who is reaching out to you, who wants to save you, and have a relationship with you. Who wants to be part of your ride, and take you into His sunset. Who knows the way you need to go, and has gone ahead of you planning the ride. But it is only when His spirit guides us we know the way.
Many look for signs, only to find detours ahead. Some plan on going it alone, yet it is only in Christ that we find fulfillment. Only in him do we get to know the creator, and find Him more attractive than the creation. God is the God of creation, He formed the hills where we ride, the plains that seem endless, and the horizon we chase after. And after the sunsets, He is still active. He also created the night from the day, and it is only in Jesus we are separated from the darkness and ride in to the light. So why ride in the dark?
He who created you can also create a way back to Him, and He did in Jesus Christ. For God does not want you to ride alone in darkness, but to see Him in all the things He created for us. He wants us to join Him in the everlasting ride, yet He gives us the choice. Many only ride into the sunset, but in Jesus we come out on the other side.
So when you’re in the in-between times, remember that He loves you. Wake up in “a good morning Lord” type of attitude, rather than a “good Lord it’s morning” attitude. In everyday past and those to come, the sun will set at sometime. And when it does, make sure you are resting in the arms that never sleep, who are just as alive in the bright sun, as He is in the night. And when day breaks and there are clouds, remember He is just on the other side of them protecting you, and giving you cover. How special are the first rays of sun after the rain, when we feel the freshness that God has provided as we ride and can almost reach out and touch it. We ride assured that He is with us, and when 4pm hits, and we rest, we find rest in Him.
The sun may set, but God’s love for us never will. From the rising of the sun, to it’s setting, He has given us His Son to guide and protect us. And when we live by His spirit, when we see things through His eyes, we see all the in-between colors of the rainbow, not just what man sees, but we see the everlasting God. Infinitely large, and infinitely small, He is in all things. And when He is in you, when you are in Him, His spirit will reveal the beauty those others only dream of.
Some ride into the sunset, those of us who know Jesus ride with the Son. We anxiously await what is on the other side of the sunset. The days may end, but God goes on. A ride I decided to take years ago, and found a road that takes me farther than the horizon. A road that leads to my home in heaven… where after the sunsets, the Son sits. The best way to start a ride, to end one, and an even better place to spend one is with Jesus. Don’t wait until 4pm to seek shelter… ride with Him on your next ride. So many roads, so little time. Aren’t you glad an everlasting God is eternal? Where are you riding tomorrow? Cause I’ll be riding beyond the sunse….
Love with compassion,