Updated: Aug 1
“Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. At sunrise, every soul is born again.” ~ Unknown
You can tell when a storm is brewing. The clouds began to swell and move slowly across the blue sky like an artist full of ideas, contemplating their next masterpiece. As the storm clouds form, they start colliding with one another, producing an ashy gray canvas across the heavens, waiting for the rain to create something new. Everything gets dark. Everything stops. The clouds in the atmosphere have become a dark and immense reservoir of water hovering over the Earth, waiting to release a torrential downpour of rain.
We have an unspoken reverence for storms. When a storm comes, people cease from all outside activities. They look for shelter. They grab an umbrella. They take precautionary measures to protect themselves from the effects of the storm. If you're from the South like me, during a storm, you've probably heard your grandmother say, "Get somewhere and sit down." My mother used to make me turn off the TV and get quiet during a storm. I never understood that.
There was a terrible storm a few days ago in my neighborhood. Lightning struck a building and caught on fire. There were power outages everywhere. Tree limbs were scattered all over the street from the force of the howling winds. Anything that wasn't anchored or protected was fair game. It was a chaotic scene. But the following day, I watched the sunrise.
Nature is our greatest teacher. It has a cadence. We can learn a lot by simply observing and listening to its rhythms. For example, as I was watching the sunrise, several thoughts came to me:
The light from the sun disperses the darkness.
The sun breaks through the residue of what happened the day before and still shines.
The rising of the sun is the dawning of a new beginning.
The sun rises regardless of atmospheric conditions.
The sun possesses rejuvenating and restorative powers.
The sun rises on and above all things on the Earth.
The sun rises unrestrained, uninhibited, and in defiance of external factors (i.e., rain, storms, wars, droughts, seasons, life, death).
The sun provides light for every pathway.
The sun is consistent.
Most importantly, after every sunset, the sun rises again.
What can storms teach us about rising? So many of us are like those storm clouds I talked about earlier. We are colliding with the storms of life until each event has become a reservoir of memories. This reservoir has become so heavy; it's like a dark cloud hovering over us, keeping us bound and unable to move forward. How can we rise with all that baggage? We can't move forward if we keep looking back. It's time for us to start sending out eviction notices to everything we are allowing to hold us down. Like they say, "You gotta get up outta here!" Notice I said everything that we are allowing to hold us down. Can't nobody hold us down unless we allow it. Learn to let it go and move forward with your life. When the storms of life come, take precautionary measures to protect yourself the same as you would a physical storm. If that means removing certain things and even people out of your life, do it. Monitor your social media, too. Sometimes you have to let folks join what I call the "block ministry." If you know certain things are a trigger for you, block them. Don't allow any open doors that will bring you back into that dark place. Biblically speaking, Hebrews 12:1 (CEV) says, "Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. Storms will inevitably come, but anchor yourself with the tools that will help you rise above them.
What can the sun teach us about rising? If we're in a dark situation, we must find the light. Before we can rise out of any dark place, we must be open and vulnerable enough to surrender the dark areas of our lives to the light. That light might be in the form of the truth of God's word. It could be in the form of therapy or meditation. Use the tools that will help you rise above those dark areas in your life. Biblically speaking, I Peter 2:9 (NIV) says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. God has called you out of darkness, which means you don't belong there.
The sun rises regardless of atmospheric conditions. It rises during wars, storms, rain, famine, seasons, life, death, and other external factors. No matter what's happening in the sky, you can count on the sun rising. I shared a quote at the beginning of this blog. "Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. At sunrise, every soul is born again." There will be sunsets, if you will, in your life. There will be things that will happen to you that will knock the wind out of you. It's okay to rest and take some time to anchor yourself. However, you must not quit. It doesn't matter how many times you fall; you are not a failure if you don't quit. Biblically speaking, Proverbs 24:16 (NIV) says, "For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…" Jude 1:24 (NKJ) says, "Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault." Rest but never quit. A new beginning awaits you. Keep rising!
Rising is a revolutionary act. Why? The act of rising is a declaration to everything and everyone that you will not be held back. It is an act of defiance against glass ceilings, limitations, borders, boxes, failures, sickness, financial hardships, setbacks, addictions, depression, injustice, and anything that weighs you down or keeps you from moving forward. Sometimes the weight of the world can get so heavy that we allow it to encapsulate us inside a tomb constructed by our own hands. We feel trapped, and we can't get out. The word rise in Hebrew is zarach (zaw-rakh') which means to rise or come forth. Biblically speaking, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the first thing he commanded was for them to take away the stone. Likewise, John 11:39 says, "Take away the stone." Why is this significant? That stone represents the weights in your life.
In other words, get rid of things that weigh you down. To rise, you must change your position. You can't move to change your position if you're carrying the cares of this world. If you're going to rise or come forth, the first thing you have to do is remove the stone. Remove the stones of insecurity, rejection, failure, financial setbacks, closed doors, and past mistakes. The world needs you. We need your gift to make the world a better place. It's not over. You have the power to take away all the stones in your life. Move that stone out of the way and rise! People are still looking for you in the tomb of your past. You're not there anymore. You have risen! Don't abort the process. Trust the process. COME FORTH!