Watching the fiery orb sink behind the horizon as it painted the stratus clouds with brilliant hues of pink, red, purple and orange, I could only sit in silent wonder as the boat bobbed aimlessly in the salty brine.
Majestic. Regal. Stunning. Extravagant. Glorious. Awesome.
All words that came to mind but were completely inadequate to sum up the visceral experience of realized beauty.
As the waves slapped the hull of the boat, the ancient words of David pounded the depths of my soul…
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
My boss and a business associate chatted in the back of the boat; his teenage son flew a new drone generating a video of the whole event. I just stared at the sky overwhelmed by the grandeur of the Artist actively painting this scene before me.
Snapping the shutter of the camera on my phone, I futily tried to capture at least one frame of the celestial show God was once again displaying.
Of course, this was the identical production He has put on every dusk since He spoke that same Sun into existence. He seems to never tire of watching how His artistry causes people to wonder out loud, “What kind of love is behind this?”
“Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:2-4)
There has never been a day when the sun was in question of rising or setting. Unalterably established in the heavens to show us we are unchangeably established in His heart.
Then a question rose insistently to the surface of my mind: “What do these heavens declare about God?”
- God is wildly creative. He has big, eternal fun making the stuff of this universe. He didn’t construct it all a long time ago and call it a day. He is still spinning stars into orbit and belching galaxies out of black holes at the edge of the known universe. He is so deeply inventive that He just can’t help himself–no more able to stop being creative than He is to stop being holy. It is who He is.
- God is incredibly expressive. What we see and call creation is simply the deeper expression of the beauty of who God is and the passion He has for people–the apex of His imaginative heart–to know that. In this spectacle we call “earth” and “heaven” we catch glints and glimmers of the boundless greatness of His being, the compassionate fullness of His heart and the fathomless bounty of His goodness.
- God is enthralled with beauty. Our Creator is not utilitarian. He never runs out of colors, textures, scents and sounds in the palette of His expression. He didn’t just make the world work, He made it wonderful. Stars simply sparkle, sunrises simply glisten and seas simply swell because they delight His heart. He needed no practical excuses for the neck on a giraffe, colors on a parrot or hum from a hummingbird. He simply makes all things lovely because that’s how He is.
- God is in love with people. He made all of this extravagant bounty as a feast for the eyes and food for the soul of humans He formed for love. He built this world as the perfect place for people to thrive in their own creative and expressive beauty. He designed all this glory as the atmosphere in which we can embrace His goodness and mercy. He surrounded us with inexplicable and incomprehensible splendor so that we could understand a little of the immeasurable brilliance of its Maker.
This is no accident of chance or product of spontaneous celestial combustion. Creation is a thoughtful, intentional work of God fashioned to display His desires for and delight in the people He placed at home within that creation.
These heavens are constantly singing His mercy, celebrating His love and signaling His kind intentions toward us. Unceasingly, they “declare” that the God who made us and knows us has dreams for us we can no more comprehend than we can capture these sunsets.
“In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.” (Psalm 19:4-6)
Yes, the heavens trumpet into the reality we call “living” that we have a God who is vast yet close; massive yet intimate; powerful yet kind. The heavens are a love letter in living, vivid color from the heart of a God who adores us fervently and is faithfully on our side.
Every day. Without fail.
Just like the sunset.