“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20, ESV
Have you ever stopped to watch a sunset? Or better yet, have you ever woken up early, before the dawn, to see a sunrise? I have, and there has never been a time that I regretted doing so either. I know that I have mentioned before that we live near the water. We truly have a beautiful home, tucked in a special corner of the world. Depending on where you go, you can usually find a spot to watch the sun rise or set over the river or the bay. For some reason, winter sunrises are some of my favorites to watch. The air is so cold and clear that the colors seem brighter, like they are warming the sky with their hues of orange, pink, and purple. My sister and I used to wake in the dark and bundle up in LOTS of layers to ward off the freezing air. We would fill our thermoses with coffee or hot chocolate, and set out in search of the perfect spot to watch the sun fill the sky. That early in the morning the water is usually still, like a glassy mirror gently rippling as the tide softly meets the shore. The moments before the sun rise, everything is quiet; like the world is holding its breath in expectancy of the beauty that is about to unfold. As the sun peaks over the horizon, the clouds begin to reflect the light, warming the open sky with an ethereal glow. Closest to the sun the sky is marbled with gold and orange while the colors fade into pink and purple tones further towards the west. It is hard to watch a sunrise and not be in awe of the majesty of God’s creation. Despite the fact that my sister and I nearly froze every time we did it, it was always worth it. Those moments before the rest of the world awakens are precious and make you feel as if you are about to witness something so lovely that it must be kept a secret.
But we know that sunrises and sunsets are not secret; they happen every day. Regardless of whether we watch them or not, they are there each morning, and every nightfall. Sometimes they are quiet and soft and other times they are vibrant with colors bursting across the sky. Sometimes, they are shrouded by storm clouds for days at a time, but they are there nonetheless. It is up to us to decide if we will stop to enjoy them.
In much the same way, God’s goodness and glory is all around us, if you take the time to see it. His divine artistry is in all of His creation. Our verse today says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, ESV) God’s power and divinity can be seen in the beauty of a sunrise, the delicacy of a flower petal, the strength of an old oak tree, or the intricacy of the veins on a leaf. Even the things that we consider to be insignificant aspects of creation express the care and goodness of God. Once, I was eating outside at a restaurant and a pigeon flew into the side of the building. She fell to the ground, and I went over to see if she was all right. Pigeons have a reputation for being more of a nuisance than anything, with people in cities passing them by without a notice. I used my sweater to wrap her up so that I could take a closer look and, upon inspection, I noticed that her eyelids were teal! The most wonderful shade of blue/green I had ever seen, and her feathers were almost iridescent! I set her down and she took a few steps before straightening herself to fly away. I remember being in awe of how much beauty God had put into something that seemed so menial and inconsequential. Something that we ignore on a daily basis.
One of the reasons I like watching sunrises is because of the stillness of that time. When the rest of the world is asleep and my day has yet to begin, it is easier for me to focus on watching and appreciating the beauty before me, instead of the things that I need to do. Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook this kind of beauty in the busyness of our day to day life. We get caught up in our schedules, routines, relationships, homework, jobs, and families. We forget to appreciate the special gifts that God gives us in His creation, neglecting to dwell on the goodness of our savior in the wonderful things surrounding us. Brothers and sisters, God has given us these exquisite things to remind us of His love for us. He is a good father who gives us good gifts! He longs for His creation to draw us closer to Him, reminding us of His care and provision for us. His beauty is there, we simply need to pause, allowing ourselves to take it in while our thoughts rest on Him.
I would urge you to take some time this week to spend an hour or two outside, enjoying the beautiful weather. Go for a walk in the woods or through the city. Wake up early and watch the sunrise or stop to watch the sunset in the evening. Whatever you decide to do, remember how great and awesome our God is as you pause to take in the beauty all around you. I promise, you won’t regret it.