My God paints the skies for me.
This evening, my intermittent running habit kicked in, and I put on my shoes to run a few miles. The forecast wasn’t great — I’ve been fighting a nagging shin splint for the past few weeks; plus, I haven’t really been eating right this week (too much Halloween candy around the house).
I walked my warm-up lap around the block, stretched, and started to run the usual route of streets to the park and back. My legs already felt sore, and I wondered how I’d fare. Would I even be able to eke out one or two miles?
And then I turned the corner, and saw it.
The sun was aglow like a halo, behind a faint layer of mist. All above it, clouds layered in a cascade of iridescent pinks and whites. Tiers and columns of clouds spread out in overlapping patterns, opening up like a funnel from the point of sunset until they covered a quarter of the sky. The clouds were feathers, mazes, a castle with spires. It was breathtaking, and I couldn’t help but gasp in astonishment.
I ran, and the sunset followed me.
I turned at the mile mark, and the sunset was still ablaze, fiery and spectacular. Every time I looked up and caught the light, I felt energized. Music and sunlight pushed, and I finished my run with the best time I’ve had in months.
And I knew that God put that sunset up for me. He knew I was running tonight, and He knew that I’d be struggling, and that I could use a boost. And He doesn’t reach down and physically push me along. But He paints the skies for me. I’ve got a Father who paints the skies for me.
As I stepped into the house to get a quick cup of water, I thought I should get a picture of the sky. And so I grabbed my camera and went outside, to snap some photos during my cool-down walk around the block.
The sunset was gone.
The spectacular layers and lines had faded almost entirely. The whole sky was gray and solemn. It was strange, and then I thought, God put it up when it was needed. It was for me, and now it’s gone. And I felt a mixture of sadness and elation. Sad, that I couldn’t share the sunset with anyone else. Elated, that God cared enough for me, individually, to give me that gift.
I walked around the block, and took a few pictures of faded clouds, and thought about how to describe the sunset. And thought again, wow, I guess that’s it. The sunset was for me alone, to push me when I needed it. God painted the skies for me, just for one run, just for a moment. And I knew I’d write about it, and words would have to be enough.
And then, at the last corner, I looked back, and the whole sky was alight again. Not quite as spectacularly as before. The sun itself below the horizon; the clouds not quite as brightly lit. But the pattern was the same; it was an echo of the same wonderful sunset.
And I smiled. God painted the sky for me once tonight, to help me run, with a dazzling sunset that seemed to last forever. And He had lit up the painting again one more time. The original was gone; and I don’t know if I could have captured it in a picture anyway. But the same painter had sent this echo, so that I could take a picture to remember and share.
I snapped the picture.
And then I went home, to ponder the wonder of a God who paints the skies for me.