Is it any wonder that, for ages, people worshiped the Sun? Consider all of the things for which it’s directly responsible: light and heat and food chiefly among them! Without the Sun, most plants die. Crops simply don’t grow.
I’ve taken particular notice of the Sun this winter. Maybe it’s COVID—wanting to go outside since we can’t go anywhere else. Or maybe we’ve just had more sunshine to notice in the first place (it has been a mild winter). Either way, there is a significant connection between blue skies and my irritability (or lack thereof). I can feel my mood lift when sunlight pours through my windows.
I imagine this has happened to most of you, whether you’ve realized it or not. And science can explain sunshine’s benefits, but we don’t need to understand the biological processes to receive them. In fact, we might not think about them at all.
That’s because sunshine isn’t an idea to know. It’s something to be experienced. We don’t need to think about sunshine in order for it to benefit us. We need to see it. Stand in it. Bask in it. Sunshine happens to us.
One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is found in Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
The idea of “tasting” the LORD is weird. But the weirdness should cause us to pause and consider what is being said. Tasting is the difference between reading about sunshine and feeling the warmth of its rays. It’s the difference between an idea and a happening. It’s one thing to read about the size of the sun, the incredible distance between us and it, or the temperature of its surface. It’s another thing to see the world flourish in its light. Knowledge of the sun can deepen our appreciation, but it can never serve as a substitute.
Likewise, it’s one thing to know about God’s goodness and to have heard stories of his power. But it is another thing altogether to take refuge in the LORD and have his goodness, love, mercy, and strength happen to you. It is one thing to read that Jesus died for your sins. It is another thing to feel the unbearable weight of those very sins lifted by the love of Christ. It is one thing to read about God’s compassion for the broken-hearted. It is another thing to be surrounded and lifted up by the Spirit of God at work in his children when tragedy strikes.
Following Jesus isn’t only about having the right ideas in our heads. Jesus “happens to us”. Christians aren’t simply called to find joy in reading about the Son, but to an abundant life lived in His light. You and I need sunshine—not just the right ideas about it! Knowledge of God ought to send us further into worship and adoration, but it can never serve as a substitute.
As I write this, the sky is blue and the sun is shining through my window. Several times I’ve peeked out at the blue sky. I know it’s good for me—I know the sun is working on me. But first, I had to pull back the curtain.