Quarks in His Glory

Peter and I were taking a few days’ break at a small beach town. One late afternoon, I was taking a walk along the beach, when I looked up to find one of the most stunningly beautiful scenes taking shape before my eyes.

The scattered clouds began to take on pastel hues of peach, violet, and gold against the deepening blue of the sky. I love sunsets, but every once in a great while I encounter one that is so awe-inspiring that I can’t take my eyes off it. And the Great Painter was certainly getting my attention with this one. It was as if He was pouring liquid colored light into each cloud. The colors crept higher and higher until they seemed to overflow, and their streams became a living, swirling kaleidoscope of ever-changing beauty.

Everything else faded into unimportance alongside this masterpiece developing before my eyes. Gently, the expanding display flowed downward until it seemed to swallow up the ocean, turning it into a sea of vibrant colors, soft and smooth like a mirror in the distance, and spraying showers of golden light as the waves shattered on the sand just a few feet from where I stood. I felt immersed in its beauty. It was as if the sunset were communicating God’s encouragement and love to me.

The colors began to spill down in darker hues onto a promontory crowned with a small peak that jutted out into the water some distance away. It was as though the flow of living light had splashed over the edge of the sky onto the peak and the buildings dotting it, transforming them temporarily into glowing gems of iridescent reds and golds.

The vivid transformation of the sky gradually shifted from soft pastel hues to deeper and richer shades of blood red and burgundy, splashed with royal blues and copper streaks. Finally, after what must have been fifteen minutes, but had seemed like mere moments, the grand display began to recede. Its glory slipped peacefully into the gentle mists of the evening to paint the world another day.

As I stood there in the growing dusk, like a little child whose mind had been awed by the grand finale of a massive fireworks display, hoping against hope that it might all start over again, it struck me that this astoundingly glorious and impossibly complex show of power and beauty was a mere thought, a twinkle in the eye of God. It was only a tiny speck in the immensity of His abilities—just a mere quark in the vast universe of His power. If this small and fleeting moment stirred my soul like this and left me speechless with its awesome beauty, how could I possibly imagine or comprehend the Creator of it, who could gloriously splash the sky with such grandeur and wipe it clean in a moment, as if it was just His aura or atmosphere as He passed by.

We get so caught up sometimes in our earthbound realm, fretting and worrying that we are all alone in our troubles and have to try to solve them on our own. But at moments like this, the resounding reality that we are deeply loved by one who can explode the sky into such beauty with nothing more than a passing thought reminds me of just whom it is that I’m trusting in. What God said to me through that glorious heavenly art was, “I can create anything. I can sustain anything. I can protect anyone. I can solve any problem. I am beauty. I am power. I am love, and I do this for you.”

Times like this help me to remember that this same all-powerful one who creates such momentary grandeur for His creations is closely attuned to our tiniest needs and desires, guiding and caring for us in ways big and small. How could we ever worry that He might forget us, or that He might not be in absolute, perfect control of every detail of our lives?