There’s nothing quite like a good sunrise to put things in perspective.

I’ve visited Chicago plenty of times through the years and seen a gamut of stuff up close and personal. Certainly, parts of the city are beautiful: Millennium Park…the view from Navy Pier…the grand architecture…the river walk along the Chicago River. My wife and I enjoy biking along the lakefront trail on a nice summer day. It’s hard to beat the views. But then there’s plenty of ugliness, too. Crime and grime…homelessness and heartache…brusque and busy people…traffic…honking horns…exorbitant prices just to park…and did I mention the traffic? Up close and personal, even on the Magnificent Mile, you can come face to face with the unmagnificent.

The life even of a committed Christian—one who’s come to trust in Christ alone for eternal life and bow the knee to His Lordship over this life—can be somewhat like the Windy City: some beautiful sections, some glorious experiences. But then again, there’s too much crime and grime, annoying horns, aggravating people, stress, noise…. Am I alone in wanting more of the former and less of the latter in my life? Am I the only one who easily focuses on the ugly?

That’s where this morning’s sunrise comes in. I’m about 25 miles outside of the city, and when I got up this morning, I could see the lights of the city off in the distance, the sky beginning to transition from inky darkness as varying shades of blue began to break on the horizon behind Willis Tower and John Hancock. A few moments later, orange and pink added their hues; the glory was about to dawn on a beautiful Spring morning. And then the scene captured above.

And it struck me how, as the sunlight beamed from behind the skyline, there was no ugliness to be seen anywhere! Only beauty. The glorious sun drenching the city in its golden splendor wholly submerged all that is ugly in its overwhelming rays. From this perspective—10 floors up, miles away—I could see the city in a completely different light. And then it dawned on me how desperately I need such a perspective on my life as a whole. I need a divine perspective. Truth came to mind. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12) who in grace has shined in my heart. The light of His glorious gospel has shined on me! Me!?! (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4). Consequently, by the grace of God I am so enveloped in that Light that Paul put it this way, “[God the Father] made [God the Son, Jesus] to be sin for us—who knew no sin—that we might be made the righteousness of God in [Jesus]” (2 Cor. 5:21). Being “in Christ” means that, just as Chicago was enveloped in the glorious sunlight that eclipsed all its ugliness, I am by God’s grace enveloped in the glorious “Sonlight” of the righteousness of Christ. So from God’s perspective, what He sees is not all my crime and grime and ugliness, but the splendid radiance of Christ and all His beauty!

What an exhilarating perspective! What a life-changing view!