My husband, Michael, and I were driving along the CA-1 coastal highway on our way to Big Sur when I piped up, "Oh! The sunset! Let's stop and watch it."
Michael pulled the car to the side of the road, which was bordering a picturesque craggy cliff with waves crashing at the bottom and the whole bit. We sat on the grassy ledge to watch the show.
And we weren't alone.
There were maybe a half-dozen other carloads of folks who stopped to witness the sun as it did its graceful dip.
All sunsets are pretty, but beach sunsets — a west coast privilege — are breathtaking because of what the sun does to the water.
After it was over, everyone did the strangest thing. They applauded. They clapped like at the end of a theatrical performance or concert. "Why do we clap?" I thought. More importantly, "Who are we clapping for?"
Michael and I clapped, too. And, since we are slaves to our generation, we took a selfie.
Living near the coast most of my life, I've seen many beach sunsets. Here are just a few that I've archived in my photo library.
At first, the sky is streaked with cool pastels.
Then it catches fire for a few blazing moments.
And it's applause-worthy. A showstopper, every time.
I believe it pleases God when we appreciate the beauty of His creation. And I also think He's pleased when we recognize how He speaks to us through creation. I think the natural world offers many metaphors and parallels to our lives.
For example, I'll reiterate my previous statement. All sunsets are pretty, and beach sunsets are breathtaking, but a beach sunset on a cloudy day can knock you right out. The clouds make it much more dramatic, more beautiful. Please see Exhibit A:
One of Michael's co-workers was at the beach on a cloudy day. She and her family stopped to watch the sunset, but it was overcast, and she thought the clouds would block most of it out.
Not expecting anything special, she actually turned her back on the horizon in order to talk to her husband, and, all of a sudden, she saw his expression totally change. His eyes popped, his jaw dropped, and he said, "Turn around."
This is what she saw.
See all the people watching in the second photo? (Maybe they clapped, too.)
How does this relate to God?
Well, I personally don't like when storm clouds roll into my life. It makes me uneasy when my future seems nebulous, my horizon hazy. As a result, I don't expect much from God's plans for me.
When I see a sunset, it reminds me that if I just turn around and face the Son He'll take those gray clouds and that restless sea and touch it with His mighty hand.
When the sun sets on my last day on earth, my exit will be all the more glorious because of (not in spite of) those cloudy times. Why? Because of the Son. He takes those gloomy clouds and makes them pulse and glow with vibrant color. It's not the clouds that are special. It's what the sunlight does to them. When my failures, mistakes, misfortunes, and griefs are drenched in the Son's rays, they reflect His glory and His grace (Romans 8:28).
Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment
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