God's Magnficent Best

 I stood there just gazing across the waters of the Caribbean Sea.  My eyes were riveted to the line that seems to separate the sky from the sea.  It was now very distinct as the rays of the sinking sun painting both sea and sky in shades of orange and red.  I had seen many paintings of local sunsets but none came remotely close to capturing the beauty upon which my eyes now feasted.  I was overwhelmed.  This was the work of the supreme artist at His magnificent best.  Not that I could ever be a judge of the handiwork of His Majesty, but in some strange way, he was saying to me, “Have your eyes ever looked on anything better?” 


I became oblivious to all of the activity around me and simply locked myself away in a little cocoon.  My greatest desire at that time was to be alone with this phenomenon that I was experiencing.  I dare not allow anything or anyone to rob me of this revelation from the Creator of the Universe.  I attempted to analyse the scene before my eyes.  I was fully aware of my limitations but I noted too, that I was not alone, for even the greatest artists of this time or any other era would have experienced the same inadequacy that I was now experiencing.  They too, would have been awestruck with the precision of the brush of this sovereign artist.  For their own artistic impressions they needed props and prompts.   They borrowed from the Supreme but He borrows from no one.  He remains eternally original. 

The first thing about this scene that really captured my attention was the line we call the horizon.  I wonder how many rulers would have been needed to draw that line with such unerring accuracy.  I watched it as it disappeared behind the high rise of the buildings that now blocked my view.  I wanted to shift from my present position to follow that line just to be gripped by its consistency but I felt to even move would suddenly terminate the inspiration that now filled my entire being.  So I just stood there drinking in all I could before the inevitable occur. 

My gaze shifted ever so slightly to take in the resplendent colour.  Only this artist and this artist alone could use His brush to reveal so many different shades of reds and then merge the reds into an infinity of oranges.  And as if that were not enough, to delicately diffuse the rays of the sinking sun into that kaleidoscope of colour without even the semblance of smudging was mind-boggling.  All this was not the pinnacle of my experience, however, for my eyes followed that colour as it cascaded into the ocean to play on the ripples there.  Even as those ripples danced with the gentlest of evening breezes, I took note of their luminous mounds.  I was so overawed by the light as it played on these rippling waves that I wanted to scream “God You are so great,” but I contained my ecstasy less that moment had disappeared from me never to return.
Suddenly an inner voice reprimanded me, “This is not for you to analyse.  Why must you always dissect everything?  Is it always necessary for you to understand the intricate workings of each and every phenomenon?  Aren’t you aware that there are some things you will never understand in their fullness?”

And then the answer came to me like a bolt of lightning.  “Don’t analyse it, just simply enjoy it.”  Suddenly I felt like the errant child, who, having tired of playing with his Christmas toy, decided that it was time to explore its intricacies.

My full attention returned to the scene of beauty before me but in a moment it was gone.  The celestial star of the entire scene had sunk below the horizon and with it my own joy.  I had wasted the last few moments of this revelation in a futile attempt to understand the interplay of colour and nature.  And, as if in annoyance, it had disappeared from my view.

While in the depths of my solitude, a soothing voice said to me.  “Hey, that was not my magnificent best.  There is better.  Cast your mind back to another sunset in another time.  View there the object that was silhouetted against the light of the sinking sun.  Tell me, what do you see?  Isn’t that by far a more glorious painting?  Listen, my child, even I could not exceed that.  That was my magnificent best.  And guess what!  I earnestly desire to paint it on every heart that would gaze there on.

Suddenly a greater light enveloped me as I gazed on that scene as if I were present when it happened.  Projected from the light in my heart and visible before my mind’s eye was the most glorious sunset I had ever seen.  And there, silhouetted against its background was a cross and on that cross was my Saviour.  Only that it was not just a sunset depicting the sinking sun in its departing radiance, but the sunrise was already in evidence.


And then it really came home to me.  I need not understand it in its entirety, but believe it for all eternity.

                                                                        Stewart Russell © 2007