God is an Artist
The beauty of His masterpiece is impressed upon all of nature, surrounding us all as we live, move, breathe, and have our being. The first days of the creation story established His satisfaction with all that He had created - having used His handiwork as a means through which our home was created. "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31). The achievement of God's hand, put to work millennia ago, has maintained its beauty for generations. We have the profound privilege of not just appreciating all that He has made, but in living our lives as a reflection of the resplendence of His doing.
GOD PAINTS A SUNSET
Have you ever stopped to watch, and I mean really watch the sun set as daylight gives way to the night sky? On a recent warm night, I did just that. I had been sharing the day with a group of family and friends, and as the sun began to sink behind the clouds, nearing the horizon, we all fell into a collective silence, awed by the show of artistic ability that was being put on by the hand of God before us - no admission fee required. In those beautiful moments, there were no buzzing phones alerting anyone of social media updates, no conversations about heated topics to distract our minds and our hearts, no responsibilities that needed anyone's immediate attention - the only thing that mattered was the masterpiece of the Lord, happening in real time.
The waves of color that God threw across the sky as the sun began its intentional descent flooded my field of vision, a watercolor of every shade of the spectrum being cast as a prism over the nearby landscape. This was, without a doubt, an act of Heaven, and I had a front row seat.
As I watched the horizon swallow the entirety of the sun while night fell and the next act of God's graceful performance began, I took some time for reflection.
The setting of the sun is not out of the ordinary - it happens everywhere on the face of the earth at a daily interval. But yet, I had been absolutely stunned in watching it take place that evening because I often pay it no mind. How often do we rush through our days, too busy to stop and acknowledge something as pure and as beautiful as the sunset? Living a life of intention means more than moving through the paces without taking time for opportunities to be completely astonished by the power of God. Living a life of intention means living with respect to His creation, committing to the role of captivated observer to displays of His all-knowing imagination.
In that sunset, I witnessed a light show of ethereal proportions, yet God and His angels were not helping the sun to set as a manner of putting on a performance for anyone in particular. The artistic demonstrations of the works of God happen all the time in nature, no matter which of His children are paying attention. Pausing to appreciate all that He has made may mean that we will get to see one of His most beautiful demonstrations of love.
NATURAL REMINDERS OF GOD'S LOVE
According to one particular psalmist, "the earth is full of his unfailing love" (Psalm 33:5). Every element of nature, from the smallest flower bud, bursting open in its season of flourish, to the grandest ocean, its waves undulating in an eternal journey toward the shore, have been created by God, both for His glory and our being. Because our hearts have been made to seek Him, they have also been created to seek all that He has made. This appreciation may come in the form of stopping (literally) to smell the roses, or pausing to listen to the quiet whisper of a light breeze, playing at the pipes of a wind chime.
LIVING LIKE A SUNSET
Every day with which we are blessed should be lived like the sunset - an inspiration to those on whom the colors we paint may fall. We are not to be haughty for the benefit of an audience that we may or may not have, but we should live in such a way that when the focus of others is drawn to us, they are captivated by our connection to God and our ability to pick up our own proverbial paintbrush and contribute to the masterpiece of His handiwork.
"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3). The God of Heaven and earth, who made all things, made each of us too, as a part of the fabric of His worldly kingdom. In this creation, we have been commissioned to treat with respect the Lord of all light, as well as the work of His hands.
We are called to be the dream seekers who have a heart for God, and are ready to set the spiritual earth ablaze with the purity of our hearts and minds, drawing ever closer to His purpose.
When was the last time you stopped to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around you? If it has been a while since you last watched a sunset, listened to a chorus of birds singing, or enjoyed the silence and stillness of a quiet wooded area, make a conscious effort to get outside. Plan a hiking trip, a picnic, or just a family afternoon in the backyard, taking in the wonder of all that God has made for you in the form of your environment.
God of all creation, in Your great love and mercy, You created for me this beautiful world. I ask that during my busiest days, You might enter into my heart and encourage me to slow down and appreciate the splendor of Your masterpiece. You are the artist of the ultimate design - a beautiful work of Your hands and Your heart, and I am simultaneously Your audience and Your co-creator. Bless me with a continued sense of amazement as I take in the natural exhibition of Your handiwork, and use me as a tool in the making of the beauty that is to come. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.