Why People Are More Beautiful Than Sunsets

I don't care how many times I see a beautiful sunset on an autumn evening; it always moves me either to smiles, or to the feeling of being full to the brim, or to the point of actually brimming over.

For example, take the sunset that lit up our West Michigan skies on Wednesday evening. I was in the car driving in a general southwest-ish direction to Grandville to meet a friend there for dinner. When I looked at the road in front of me, it was completely bathed in the late evening glow of pink and orange radiating from the sky. Wave upon wave of color glistened in the heavens, peeking through the puffy, white clouds and injecting them with color like the way cool whip turns pink when you add strawberries.

I gasped with astonishment. It had been months since I witnessed a sunset of that magnitude and splendor. Despite the hundreds of sunsets just as beautiful that preceded this one, there was still something entirely shocking, new and fresh about it. And I thought to myself, "How great is this Creator-God, who pours forth beauty at every turn!"

And then, because I love the way God draws me into conversation with Himself through these moments, I let my thoughts continue in that vein.

"Just look at that sunset. 'The heavens declare the glory of God,' I thought. What other things declare His glory in that way?"

Immediately, it came. People. We are the apex, the pinnacle, the climax of the Ultimate Novel Writer's story.

People are more beautiful than sunsets. Sunsets have the ability to mesmerize us for isolated moments every now and then. In those moments we feel as if we've never been touched by a beauty so magnificent, and we cannot avert our eyes.

But think of the glory of God's sixth-day creation. I look around me and see a planet teeming with little reflections of the beauty of the Triune Creator God Himself. Each face is different, but each one contains more mystery and glory in the tiniest corner of a smile than does the whole vastness of the sky.

As we age, the outward signs of beauty fade, but the personalities -- as they grow and age and mature -- become by turns more complexly shaded, brilliant, joyous, funny, intelligent, wise, hopeful and loving.

I understand it's not always so. Often age brings deeper evil, bitterness, hatred and ugliness. But where the Creator has dominion, where the Redeemer shines through, there is much potential for growth and beauty.

Can a sunset love? Can a sunset laugh? Can a sunset cry? Can a sunset hold, soothe, listen, create, walk, run, dance, eat, sleep, read, write, pray, think?

No. That wondrous gift has been given to humans. Since the Garden it's been evident the bent of our hearts leads us away from the One who made us more beautiful than sunsets.

But thankfully, the Beauty Giver never gives up on us. He waits for us. He groans for us. He offers us his free and full redemption, paid for by the blood of His one and only Son, who came in human form, and showed us perfect love.

That is much more beautiful than a sunset.

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Pam Elmore said...

Wow, Rachel. Thank you for this post.

I need to hold onto this perspective when I'm finding people especially challenging.

Rachel E. Watson said...

It's so hard, isn't it? It's hard to love people when they misunderstand your motives, or threaten your pride, or crush your spirit. But God is patient. :)

Adam said...

Good post. I've seldom heard a more encouraging way of looking at aging. And I think it's true. :)

Rachel E. Watson said...

Thank you, Adam. :)

Adam said...

So I go into Facebook today, and it's like, "If you're gonna come in, you can't talk to anybody." And I'm like, "Then why would I be here?" So Facebook is like, "Why don't you take a long clickthru off a short url???" So I'm like, "Fine."

Did you know you have exactly 666 FB friends? Quick, make another!

Thanks for the song! I like the entire soundtrack too, and Big Rock Candy Mountain is one of my favorites on it. I like everything about it; on the big-picture level, I appreciate that the daydreams contained therein clearly come from a Hoboistic worldview - i.e., instead of each person possessing their own job and home, the cops all have wooden legs and 'you never change your socks.' Ha!

Kevin made a 28-second video you may enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgAjZw6XaJ4

You have your Bible Study tonight, right? Are you looking forward to it?

So Kev and Kel are busy Thursday, but I spoke with some other very good friends of mine, Mark and Alison. (Mark is another Dungeons and Dragons player and I've known him since 8th grade). Anyway, how does this sound for Thursday: we go over there around 8:00 to watch The Office (do you like it?) and Community (have you seen it?), eat desert (but you don't have a sweet tooth?) and play a board game (or two?).



Rachel E. Watson said...

You're a silly head...

Unknown said...

Dear Rachel,

I love sunsets. And most of the time I love people. But sometimes, they are the most annoying things God ever created (second only to road construction). Thanks for the reminder that each person is a beautiful reflection of God.

(Please don't judge me. Just laugh. I almost wrote (on purpose) "a reflection of the "SON"" as in like SUNsets and the SON. Oh gosh, I'm turning into my dad!)

Rachel E. Watson said...

Ha! Thanks for sharing, Nellerz. :) I like the comment about road construction. Mmm, so true. Except, I'm pretty sure that bass-ackward idea was man's, not God's. :)

Unknown said...

Ok, so I'm posting again, but I had to share something so magnificent it just couldn't wait.

I had a culinary triumph yesterday! Do you remember from Julie and Julia, where Julie makes the bruschetta, frying the bread and topping it with oh-so-yummy tomatoes? And her husband is just amazed by how good it tastes?

Well, yesterday, I actually had all of the ingredients on hand, and so I made it. And Rachel, let me tell you, it was PHENOMENAL! I did NOT expect it to taste so good, but it was glorious, to say the least. I'm so excited about it that I want to make it for you sometime. Please let me know when you want to come over to try my newest culinary masterpiece!

Rachel E. Watson said...

Ooh, yay! That sounds amazingly delicious!! Next week, let's set a date!! :)