“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
I have this thing for the sky. Especially when it involves sunsets. (And every Christian girl squeals, “Ooooh, me too!”) But for real, I love the sky.
Recently, I took a drive because I needed to. Have you ever taken one of those? At this particular time in life, I was in the midst of the valley. Let me be clear on how I had gotten there: I was not walking down into the valley. I was face planting my way down into the valley. You know the kind: uncontrollable flailing of limbs and absolutely no hint of respite within sight. I felt helpless.
On this particular day in the valley, I had gotten several uninterrupted hours of alone time in my room–-every introvert’s dream. (Why I did not enjoy “time out” as a child I do not know.) While I felt incredibly rested, by the end of the day I was paying the price of being by myself all day: I was in my head. Once the realization was made, it took about .3649 seconds before I was pulling out of my driveway, having resolved to go watch the sunset. (Still by myself, but hoping the change of scenery would bring welcomed distractions.)
As I was driving off into the sunset (which is a joke because I might or might not have been crying while driving so it was a less than blissful moment), I passed a place that looked like it had good potential for watching sunsets. I tucked this thought away and continued driving on autopilot with an unknown destination. Before I knew it, I ended up at some random patch of dirt off of a back road.
What’s notable about this spot is that there was absolutely zero view of the sky. The only acceptable place for me to park––so not in the middle of the road or in the one gravel driveway that marked the sole residence on the street––was on the outside of the gate to an oil rig. Let’s also mention the trees. The trees were so close to me that I couldn’t see beyond 20 feet in front of me! Definitely the view I had in mind when I set out. Yeah, no.
Behind the trees, I knew the sun was setting. At that moment I knew the sun was probably giving its final goodbyes for the day; making a grand exit, casting vibrant hues of rich reds and plump pinks across every nook and cranny of the earth, gracefully sinking into the horizon. Safe to say I was frustrated that I couldn’t see it…further adding to my feeling of helplessness. I wanted to see the sun for myself.
The next day I took the same drive, this time cutting it shorter. I went to the place I spotted the day before, the spot with the promising view. And oh, did it have a view. Here’s a little piece of irony: remember how I mentioned a second ago that I felt like I was in a valley? Well this physical spot was up on a hill, with a geographical valley separating me and the sun. I noticed that the sun didn’t just shine on the hillside, but was in the valley too.
In his book, Through the Eyes of a Lion, Levi Lusko presents a question that I have asked myself countless times, “Do I believe in the valley what I preach in the sunshine?” The God of the sunshine is the same God of the valley. I was literally watching this Truth unfold. My perspective was refreshed. I was not alone. I turned up my music and sat in utter awe of the breathtaking scene unfolding before me. I tried to take pictures, but was disappointed as not a single one could do the actual sunset justice.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: nothing speaks to my soul more profoundly than vibrant skies and strong worship music (the Scripture-quoting kind). Amanda Cook’s album, Brave New World, has brought incredible comfort to my heart that needs reminders to boldly proclaim Christ’s limitless power and tender character. (Go listen to it now. As in right now. Because I will absolutely be referencing this album in future posts. It’s 928347234% guaranteed. And yes I just pressed random numbers super fast. It made me feel like a math ninja.)
As I was sitting there, I was flooded with emotion.
When I look up, it reminds me of how big God is and how small I am.
When I look up, it reminds me of how God is the ultimate Creator and source of beauty.
When I look up, it reminds me of how the big God of the clouds and atmosphere cares about His children and every precious life that needs His very air to live another second.
When I look up, it reminds me of how God, incredibly personal and infinitely compassionate, created me. I am His most sacred creation.
The sky doesn’t stop proclaiming God’s glory. The rising and the setting of the sun bring strong choruses in the mornings and evenings and tender praises throughout the day. Sometimes it storms and He audibly reminds us that He is strong. Other days the wispy clouds remind us to let go and experience freedom, to experience grace.
That second time I took a drive, I couldn’t believe that I had passed up the opportunity the day before to see this spectacular sight with such a clear view. We have to choose to see the sky. We have to choose to see God working. Whether or not we see Him does not determine whether or not He is glorious. But sometimes we don’t position ourselves in a way that allows us to take in His full grandeur.
Are you looking up? Are you choosing to join in with the heavens and the skies, declaring and proclaiming God’s glory and handiwork? May we not operate on autopilot and suddenly look up to find ourselves with an impeded view of God.
One last note: I think that it is God’s gift to us that we can’t photograph sunsets. Then we would stop looking at the real thing.
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