There is nothing on earth so cheering to the soul of man as sunshine. A day without sunshine is called a “gray day,” a gloomy day. A sunny day buoys up the spirit, but I have been told that in the far north, during the long winter when the sun is never seen, the suicide rate goes up.
Sunshine imparts its own beauty to everything it touches. What are autumn leaves in the dark? But sunshine makes them radiant with splendor. What entrancing beauty we find in the sun-lit peaks above us, when the valley around is shrouded in darkness. What beauty in the distant hills, when they are clothed with sunshine. Even the clouds, the very symbols of gloom when they shut out the sunshine, are radiant and beautiful—and sometimes glorious beyond description—when they reflect it. Indeed, I have seen the very columns of smoke, rising from a dirty factory, radiant and beautiful when bathed in sunlight.
Sunshine is therefore used to symbolize all that is bright and cheering, all that is warm and pleasant, all that is radiant and attractive— kindness, love, and cheerfulness. We speak of folks who have a “sunny smile,” or a “sunny disposition.” All of this is fitting enough, and proper enough, but it fails to begin to fathom the depths of sunshine. There is a reason why sunshine warms the soul of man as well as his body. That reason is, God designed and created it to do so.
The sun is a type of Christ. God created this glorious orb to picture his Son. How vastly superior, then, are those poor idolaters who worship the sun, to those who worship toads and bones, or sticks and stones. How vastly superior they are to those who worship silver and gold—or all that is most glorious on earth.
What is there of all things known to man to compare with the sun? Resplendent with a glory which no eye of man can bear—all-pervasive in its presence, while its absence is felt more keenly still—warming and cheering like nothing else known on earth—so high above us, yet caressing our very cheeks with its warmth—ever faithful, never failing, never tiring—never waxing, never waning, never changing, never appearing but in all its glory—the source of its own light, which it freely lavishes upon all the world—the source of its own warmth, which it spreads unstintingly o’er all the earth—cheering the very beasts and insects, along with the heart of man. Indeed, even the mindless leaves and flowers, with a wisdom wrought into the fabric of their being by the God who created them, reach always for the sunshine, and turn their faces always to its warming beams.
This sun is the divinely drawn picture of Christ. It is indeed “the light of the world,” and the life of all things here. What death and darkness would reign on all the earth without the sun! Take the sun from the sky, and how quickly the whole earth would be dark and cold and lifeless. The science and ingenuity of man might sustain a little life for a little while, but this would be no more than the last flickering of the smoking wick of the lamp, after the oil has run out.
Now consider what a divine mercy it is that the God who has made this glorious orb so necessary to our existence, has made it also so cheering to our heart. Can anyone suppose this to be an accident? He must be an infidel who can. Yet many there are who know well enough how to bask in the sunshine of this earth, who yet have no relish for the sunshine of heaven. Like some doleful creatures of the night, they fear and shun the sunshine. How is it that they have no capacity to bask in the sunshine of heaven? How is it that they do not sing with Charles Wesley?—
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Ah, they little believe in the power of the Sun of Righteousness to warm and cheer the heart of man. They suppose that the way of holiness is a dreary one, and that the service of Christ is drudgery. They suppose that all the pleasures and good times are to be found in the broad way of self-will, self-pleasing, self-indulgence, and sin.
Is this your case? You will not heed the chidings of your conscience. You will not believe the solemn warnings of the Bible. But Friend, will you believe the sunshine? What can you find on all the earth so warming, cheering, pleasant, and inviting as the sunshine? Know this, then, that this sunshine is God’s own picture of Christ—in whom you have found nothing to attract your soul. Surely sin and Satan have blinded your eyes. Open your eyes to the sunshine, and see the Christ whom you despise. His very words are sunshine. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Who would not open his heart to such sunshine as this? Only those who love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.
And saints of God, is there not more of beauty and warmth and glory in Christ than any of us have yet known? “That I may know him” was the passion of Paul. Is it ours also? It may well be that we so little desire him because we so little know him, and so little know him because we so little desire him. But it may be that if we contemplate the picture which God has drawn of him, both our desire and our knowledge of him will be increased. Let us, then, study the sunshine, and know what Christ is.