“Heads up!” my friend texted me. “The weatherman predicts a beautiful sunset due to the haze in the sky.”
Sharing the thrill of a sunrise or sunset is something my friend and I do often. One text alert and we’re both out the door, checking the sky, marveling once again at God’s creativity, and sending each other pictures of how the sky differs ten miles away.
This time, I stalled. Sunset was not for another 40 minutes. So said Alexa. I told my digital nanny to set a timer for 30 minutes.
Not wanting to miss the show, I meandered outside several times, wondering how spectacular the sky would be. A defined haze clung to the sky but from my vantage point, there were no clouds, a necessary ingredient, in my humble opinion, to the formation of sunsets. On my last foray, I feared I had missed the show, for the sun had slipped below the tree line. Unless a sunset hogs half the sky, I usually don’t see much of it, because my house is buried behind a bank of trees and other houses in our small town.
I was about to give up.
Let my friend enjoy it as she gazes across wide open farm fields. I’ll live vicariously through her pictures.
But I wasn’t willing to stop the sunset search yet. Determination to see what I might otherwise miss dragged me down the street. Through a break in the trees, I saw the glory. I saw my sunset.
It wasn’t this breathtaking, splashed across the sky, Arizona Highways kind of sunset. It was a peaceful, laid back, Midwest summer end of day announcement. It was quiet, soft, and tranquil, a treasure tucked into the horizon for which I had to look to find. I traipsed toward a corn field, intruding over prohibited terrain, imagining what a proprietor with a shotgun might say about my presence. Evidently, I’ve been reading too many American pioneer stories. I can just imagine me saying to an indignant homeowner, “Sorry about your peonies. But I was trying to find the sunset.”
What I found
All I discovered at the end of my road was a single red globe with a few wispy shell pink clouds clinging to the outer edge. I struggled and overcame my disappointment. Hasn’t my new found eyesight taught me to appreciate the smallest of wonders? Shouldn’t a soft shell pink cloud puff be as treasured as billowing rays of gold and orange? I would find beauty in this evening, oh yes I would. And so I stood in the middle of the road, transfixed, staring too long at the haze filtered red glow.
Like Elijah craning to hear God’s still small voice, I had to lean in close and peek around tree corners to find whispered traces of God’s latest creative twist. It wasn’t much but it was still beautiful. And while I was there, sunset stalking, I asked myself: What else can I appreciate about this night? I turned my back on the small sunset and walked home, looking and listening for hidden treasure.
When I got home, I texted my friend with my seek and find discoveries:
I chased the sunset and found a fireball mounted on a sconce of satin pink. The twilight moment was filled with the sounds of cicadas, the mournful cry of a lone dove, the sleepy chirps of a bird song reprise, and the calls of a grassy field game of pitch that defied the dim light for a final play. Serenity filled my soul tonight with the assurance that the sun would be back tomorrow.
I went out to chase the sunset. I came home with a pocket full of twilight, saved to savor on a rainy day.
My shell pink evening parallels my life journey.
Too many days filled with the mundane, I long for splashy shows of God’s power and amazing assurances of His love. How can I accomplish anything for God when I spend hours alone in the quiet ordinary of home? I want something exciting to happen. I want to see God’s mighty power do something. I want to have a magnitude 7.5 impact on God’s Kingdom work. Okay, let’s go for 9.2!
Instead, God gives me the pastel hues of the ordinary to remind me that there is power in the still small voice, beauty in a simple red glow of the setting sun, and security in the fact that the sun will be back tomorrow. God assures me that the small moments can be the most powerful moments, for when we strip away the distraction of the sensational, replacing it with the simple, it is then that we see His face and hear His voice.