Starring the Sun

Starring the Sun


For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory.
Psalm 84:11


They call the high cost of living in San Diego a “sunshine tax.” We pay for the privilege of hearing virtually the same weather report everyday—70 degrees and sunny. The downside is that we face a looming water shortage, and many of us are now having to transition from lush green lawns to water-wise xeriscapes.

I’m not going to lie; I’m mourning the loss. I grew up in New Jersey, where playing on the soft and fragrant lawn lingers in my memory as one of childhood’s most sensual pleasures. There is something in me that recoils at the sight of rocks and bark and scraggly native plants. But times change, and so must we.

When we first began to reduce our water usage, we noticed that the blast of the afternoon sun scorched our attempts to sustain anything green. Accordingly, we researched drought-tolerant plants and came up with a plan. I’ve been designing and Jeff has been digging, and together we are creating a backyard retreat that we hope will one day be as refreshing to view as a swath of manicured grass.

However, we’ve encountered an unforeseen problem in our symmetrical landscape design. We planted with the intention that the left and the right sides would be mirror images. But now, just a few weeks later, the plants on the left side are twice as big as those on the right—blooming with color, expanding, seeming right at home. Those on the right are stunted, less certain to survive. What gives?

After studying the progress of the sun across that section of the yard, I was surprised to learn that one side was subtly shadier than the other. The thriving plants on the left half of the space were different in only one aspect from their counterparts: each day they were receiving more direct sunshine.

Do you remember your mom pushing you out the door to play in the fresh air and sunshine? She was on to something. Experts now tell us that we must get outside into natural sunlight for at least 15 minutes a day in order to get the amount of Vitamin D our bodies need to thrive.

Psalm 84: 11 tells us that the “Lord God is our sun… the giver of grace and glory.” Another translation (NIV) says, “He bestows favor and honor.” Aren’t these the elements essential to our ability to flourish? Like plants depend on sunlight, we must rely on God’s grace and glory, his favor and honor, if we are to bloom and prosper.

As we take an inward inventory of our spiritual growth and the fruitfulness of our lives, perhaps we should start by examining our amount of daily exposure to the Lord God who is our Sun. While my poor plants are stuck in the place I’ve planted them and can’t control the amount of sunshine they receive, you and I have a choice. We can choose to spend time basking in the light of God’s presence through time set aside for worship, prayer, and the study of his Word.

Take a few minutes today to play out in the sunshine of God’s Word. Try Isaiah 60:19-20 as a starting point. Give yourself permission to explore. Do you have a Bible with cross -references? Look them up. Do you have a concordance at the back of your Bible? What other verses can you find about the sun? I’d love to hear what you discovered!