Watching a sunset has to be one of the most satisfying pleasures. At the end of each day, there it is, hung in the sky as a living work of art.  A sunset is very much alive as the descending, fiery orb casts its golden light in all directions and the wind-driven stratus, cumulus and cirrus dance as they interplay with the light. They call the last hour of daylight the Golden Hour, the most photogenic time of day when warm colors are amplified, and the cool blues of the sky take on the deeper and varied hues of sapphire.

Photograph of the sun drifting through atmospheric layers causing a gradient of color from yellow to red in the Tennessee mountains one summer eveningAn air of unpredictability precedes a sunset. I think the best sunsets happen when a cadre of clouds come to visit. Almost any spectacle imaginable seems possible. The big disc is colored with gradient shades of yellow, orange, and red. Clouds are painted with opposing shades of purple and pink. Beams of light declare heart-stopping glory so inspiring that you halt in your tracks to watch the sunset channel, uninterrupted, to its stunning conclusion.

I admit to being disappointed when some of those winter sunsets end with a hot, white ball disappearing in the frigid and arid air. Yet even in those times, the glory begins minutes later, when an afterglow warms nightfall like a fire on the horizon. As the stars appear, the fire cools, slowly, until a pale glow remains, and you barely see your breath.

Night falls and the sapphire sky dissolves. The brightest planets and stars begin to catch the eye. Every person should take at least one opportunity in a lifetime to watch the complete stellar show. It is a treat to see our own star set and witness all the stages of twilight until at last, such a field of stars appears you are bowled over by a true glimpse of eternity.  Nightfall is far more awe-inspiring than you can imagine, and I am certain that is the Maker’s intent.

Photograph of a mountain scene, after sunset, and a crescent moon

To me, nothing testifies about the existence of the Creator like a night gazing at the stars. It is God’s intent for us to see that He exists by the creation which speaks volumes, endless volumes about His eternal nature, wisdom, knowledge, and power.  He is the author of all that we study intensely in physics, chemistry and biology. It’s perfect. It all works perfectly. It’s astounding. David (a king of Israel) wrote in a Psalm, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)     

God is mindful of us. He made us in His image. He gave us a delightful planet with abundant food, natural resources, and enough wit to dominate it. But I’m afraid, as a lot, we are not mindful of Him.  People are supposed to look at the universe and discern that God is and believe. The Bible tells us, in speaking of God, that “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.” (Romans 1:20)

A photograph of the Milky Way as seen in the Roan Highlands

When I said we are not mindful of God, that is an understatement.  From the beginning, rejection of God has been the common thread of humanity; they reject His divine authority and His moral authority.  So instead of honoring and worshiping their loving Creator, people made religions with their own imaginary deities and standards of morality (ranging from abject immorality to overt self-righteousness). Paul’s letter to the Romans accurately describes the state of our world today (as it was nearly 2,000 years ago):

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)

All of us, at various times and likely many times each day, commit such sins and stand guilty. We are eternal beings, and after this life when we enter eternity, we will stand before God to give an account. (2 Corinthians 5:10) If this was all there was to the story, a story where all people sinned against Him, who then judged them and punished them eternally for their lifetimes of rejection and disobedience, that would, of course, be terrible and terrifying. But that contradicts the character of God, who is perfect in love and justice.

So in His love for us, God made a way for people to be spared, to be forgiven. That way is through God’s Son, Jesus. Who is Jesus? He is God, who manifests Himself as the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus came to Earth as a infant, lived a sinless life and demonstrated His divine power and authority through miracles and teaching. As was God’s plan, His ministry culminated in His crucifixion on a Roman cross, an instrument of torture and execution cruelly used by the Roman empire. As a man, Jesus bore the wrath of God on our behalf, and as God, He redeemed us through His death.  To confirm His power over death and promise of eternal life to those who believe, God raised Jesus back to life on the third day.

Coming to believe in God through His natural revelation might be your first step. But it is through His special revelation found only in the Word (the Bible) that one comes to know the whole story of creation, the fall of man, and the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation. Eternal life with our glorious and wonderful creator God comes by committing your faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

When you look to the stars, consider the One who is able to speak the immense and eternal universe into existence and yet is more lovingly mindful of you, ready to save you if you only believe.

Photo Credits

Pacific Sunburst” (Featured Image), “Appalachian Summer Sunset“, “Beauty Spot Afterglow” and “Roan Highlands Starscape” by Eric Jon Job