I watched the sun set over the Chesapeake Bay last night. The grays, pastels, and mauves were accented by emerging, evolving purple, fuchsia, orange, gold, and red. Only God would try mixing all of these colors in the same outfit.
But mix He did.
The skies took on definition and detail that only the setting sun could illuminate. Smooth cloud-streaks curved across the sky like fish skeletons, which merged with other clouds into the glowing, checkered bark of a burning log.
To the south and north, clouds took the form of wind-swept snow against the ribs of the fish skeleton. All of this streamed in a great, red-orange wake following the sun as it cruised toward points west.
Far to the north and south—beyond the wind-swept ridges—clouds collaborated to mimic the Shenandoah’s shrouded in low-lying mists. Thirteen ducks beat the air wildly, flying over the broken and patchy ice of the Chesapeake toward their respite and reverie.
A milder winter has kept Canadian geese and shore birds farther north than normal. During a normal winter, Cecil County, Maryland, would have long since seen its last goose honk his way down the eastern flyway. But here they were, wintering in Maryland—about a hundred of them, dodging the giant ice blocks along the shore to feed and socialize. Watching them sleep, floating in water cold enough to kill a man, can’t help but make one believe in down-filled coats.
I never realized there were so many variations of gray, but each chunk of ice was colored with its own hew as it bobbed in the diminishing light. Then, with one moment in time and a small declination of the setting sun, each striation of the ice-flow turned into a compilation of red diamonds displayed between the stark, dark winter landscape and the open water of the Chesapeake.
As a Texan, I am obligated to say that I have seen more spectacular sun downs looking west across my state—through the dust particles, toward Mineral Wells and Ranger—I just can’t remember when.
But judging which sunset was the most beautiful, misses the point.
This one in Maryland was spectacular, and Father painted it especially for me, complete with ducks, geese, ice, and sea gulls against a winter landscape. The fact that several million other folks saw it is irrelevant.
I stood in my hotel room alone. No one was beside me looking out through the paned windows. No one saw exactly what I saw. Father painted this just for me and I’m writing to report His wonderful gift.
He is in the habit of giving gifts like this to His children. They are greeting cards from Him with a simple message: “I was thinking about you and wanted you to know.”
God goes to great lengths to let us know we are on His mind.
Over the weekend a man named Tim told me the story of how he was persuaded to become a Believer. At the age of six, he watched with fascination as a woolly worm crawled across the driveway. Being totally captivated with how cool this worm was, he told his Mom about it. His folks had faithfully told him that God had made him, and that his Mom told him that God had also made that fuzzy fellow on the drive. It was at that moment that God seized His opportunity—and Tim’s heart was captured for eternity as he and his Mom prayed the prayer of salvation together.
The next day, after the sunset, I had the opportunity to crawl inside a portable planetarium to listen to a scientist lecture on the universe. I don’t recall now how far it is to Castor and Pollux, the twin stars of Gemini, but it is a long way. The scientist said it was something akin to the number of dollars in the national debt.
As near as this scientist could determine, the immensity of the universe is mind-boggling simple: God is sending us a message. “I love you…this much.”
From the worm on the drive, to Polaris in Ursa Minor, and the purple-red ball setting over Aberdeen, Maryland, nothing is outside of God’s creative genius as He thinks of something fresh and new each day to convey His deep affection for us.
As if Christ weren’t enough!
He continues His determined pursuit of you and me across the universe, the driveway, and the Chesapeake Bay, “You were on my mind. So, I put together a little something—just for you.”
On the one hand, God is incredibly complex. Even though we shall see Him just as He is when we step through the gates of heaven, we will probably spend the rest of eternity trying to figure out what it was we saw.
Yet in another aspect, He is phenomenally simple. So simple, in fact, that a six-year old can have his life changed by a worm sent by God to crawl across his driveway at an opportune moment.
There are hundreds of things new every moment. Each declares the mercy of your Father. Each declares His love. Each declares, “I was thinking of you.”