Tonight I sat down in the cafe to devour a quick cup of baked potato soup (awesome) and a cinnamon crunch bagel (sliced, toasted, and also awesome)...I picked a chair by the long wall of windows because I like to look outside at the sky and the traffic and the neon signs of the other dozen restaurants surrounding my own place of employment.
As I sat down and looked to the West, I was literally stunned by the sunset. It was not the traditional sunset where the entire sky blazes red and orange with shadow-purple clouds. It was not the cloudless sunset where the fading light burns and fades in perfect clarity.
This sunset was a wide cavern of light in a wall of dark clouds. Every part of the sky was overcast with a few cotton wisps hovering above the trees and a gray blanket blocking the dusk stars. Every part but one....
Blasting over and around a rolling thundercloud was the purest yellow light I have ever seen at sunset, as if the sun had polished the atmosphere and shone its perfect light through crisp, spotless air. Ladders of brilliance erupted in all directions. The edges of the cloud held the brilliance in its vapor like the flares in our eyelids when we stare at fluorescence.
I watched this incredible beauty for thirty minutes, and traced the sun's descent with awestruck eyes. As I ate and enjoyed the evidence of God's beauty, I watched the customers leaving the restaurant, willing them through some stupid attempt at telepathy to look up at the sky and behold the beauty. I wanted to bang on the glass, burst out the door, point with my hand and tell them how amazing and how beautiful and how cool and how unique was the sunset....
But no one looked. No one stopped to watch, no eyes turned to the light, no heads shook with wonder. Once, I grew excited as an early-twenties couple left and the young man pointed with his hand. I leaned forward, hoping he was pointing at the sun, hoping he was sharing this moment with someone he loved...but no. I sat back disappointed. A shiny new Jeep held their attention and they stared at it while walking to their own, undoubtedly less-cool vehicle.
I could not shake the tragedy of them missing out. I could not shake their ignorance. I could not shake their blindness to the light.
For some reason, I have always been mystified by the sky. I love it. Massive clouds, rain, lightning, tornadoes, sunrises, sunsets, the moon (my absolute, absolute favorite), stars, meteors, eclipses. I love all of it. Everything about the sky is incredible.
My creative, artistic personality has given me hell at times, but other times it lets me see heaven. Sometimes the passion and intensity and emotion within opens my eyes and draws my attention to things other people might miss completely.....
So I thanked God for who I am. I thanked Him for allowing me to see the sunset, for making me a person who finds beauty in the world, in nature, in real things. I do not find myself superior to the people who walk to their cars with bellies full and minds on bedtime. Not at all. But I am so glad I see more. I hope I never walk past beauty without appreciation and awe.
Now. This is where my mind stopped until I started to write....then I felt a challenge. An analogy, a metaphor, a whatever-the-heck comparison.
The sunset is beautiful.
But God made the sunset. God fashioned the earth with a word. He ordered the sky with His hand. His creativity pulled everything beautiful from emptiness. Our Father is the Creator.
Oh! To feel the reality of my sonship with as much power as I felt the beauty of the fading light of a dying star. To have the urge to shout for those walking in darkness, their eyes filled with nothing, to behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. To have the desire to share the experience of my shameless, guiltless salvation in the name of Jesus Christ like I wanted to share the wonder of a single sunset.
Father, break my reality with your presence. Outshine your creation in my heart, overpower the desires in my life, overcome my weakness and fear so I may boldly, proudly, adamantly proclaim the worthiness and majesty of my Father to those who are missing out on the most beautiful thing in existence--Your Love.
Under the waters and their inhabitants.
“Naked is Sheol before Him,
And Abaddon has no covering.
“He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
“He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
And the cloud does not burst under them.
“He obscures the face of the full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.
“He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness.
“The pillars of heaven tremble
And are amazed at His rebuke.
“He quieted the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.
“By His breath the heavens are cleared;
His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.
“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;
And how faint a word we hear of Him!
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
So I have looked upon you in your sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of people are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.