Thank you Dear Lord for another sunrise! It is early and all in the house are still asleep. I have stoked the fire in the wood stove and poured a cup of coffee. I grab a quilt and nestle down in the rocker to gaze out the window and read my Bible. While sitting I notice the sky. I am amazed while just taking in the beautiful hues. The colors are breathtaking for winter time. Partially painted in a pastel shade of yellow and rosy pink clouds set still, there is no movement to them and the backdrop is bright “Carolina” blue. This reference of “Carolina blue skies” that I have heard while living here is so true. I do not remember this shade of blue growing up in the hills of West Virginia. This color is prominent here in North Carolina. (I am sure that is why UNC adopted this color from the sky above.)
I have been a sky watcher since I was a child. My Nanny taught me as a little girl to watch and learn from the sky. This picture will tell a story. Many of her paintings captured this love of hers. I am sure that you all have heard the saying, “Red skies at night, sailors delight. Red skies at morning, sailors take warning!” She loved to quote this when the “shades of red” colored the skies. I do the same thing. As a child, I loved to look for figures in the clouds, cloud changes with the weather, the brightest stars in the night sky, shooting stars with long tails, the changing shapes, sizes and brightness of the moon, and sometimes, the moon still hanging above in the day sky while the sun shone bright. There has always been an excitement and wonder while gazing. Yet, there has always been a calming effect to this “hobby” of mine. It is like looking for “sky treasures!”
While I watch and ponder something catches my attention. Over the house rolls this thick, grey smoke … it rolls out slowly and then disperses like a foggy mist across this beautiful painted sky. The presence of the smoke cannot be dismissed or evaded, it is there changing my morning canvas.
While I am writing, watching, and meditating on this landscape before me, the scene begins to change. The sun rises in this Eastern setting and begins to peek across our garage roof and cast its bright amber glow through our hedge row. The sparkling glare illuminates against the window pane and makes this glorious cross. The center is a bright glowing orange ball of light which branches out unto four corners – North, South, East and West. Looking more intently, I notice that the lines of light elongate and diminish in brightness and color … then they are gone. The cross is made in my view. I think about Christ and what He did for me. I think about the gospel being spread to the four corners of the world. A prominent thing about this cross in my view, the Western side extends the longest of the four sides. My thoughts are taken to this “Western world” that I live in … west of Israel, west of Jerusalem. Our nation consumed in sin. Like that thick, grey smoke that crept in and dispersed … it was still there, it just became part of the backdrop as it spread abroad. It just blended in. I think about this “hedge row” that is in this light. My protection of Salvation and the Blood … how I am hedged in by His grace and mercy, that is abundant, that is new every morning! That thick, grey mass that once engulfed my life is gone. Unlike the smoke that just dispersed … mine is GONE! Never to be remembered by Him, never to be mentioned by Him for He took it away from me. It was 18 years on January 11th that My Savior came and rescued me!
As the sun rises higher, the sky changes. The pastel hues have faded into a pale blue and white backdrop. The once prominent rosy pink clouds have vanished and white cloud puffs dance across the sky. The sun is now a bright white ball with a golden ring shining there high in the sky. Rising higher, the sun grows in diameter and the brightness of the golden glow reaches farther in distance and intensity. Just as my walk with Him grows, my LORD and Savior rises higher and higher in my eye. He becomes bigger and bigger and His Majesty becomes brighter and brighter, reaching a farther distance and intensity in my life. This intensity must shine out to others in a broader spectrum, for it cannot be contained or hidden when it is real! As written in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
The smoke that was once seen has changed. It has changed into a vapor out of our chimney while the fire burns with great heat. As the intensity of the fire increased, the smoke changed. Just as my whole life changes, when I become embraced by the Word. The Spirit and the Word kindles and ignites something inside. Changes take place in my life when exposed to the “light” of His marvelous Word. That “fire” contains mystery to the believer, that maybe one day Heaven will reveal.
This picture continually changed throughout my morning observance. At one point, I could not see the sun any longer for it had moved over the house. I still saw the light, but not the sun. Many changes have come and gone in my life. Some came in an instance, while others came over time. Sin changes my life. My sin brought me to Him, what a glorious day! Its presence and prominence in my life brought me before Him … empty, broken, in need of change. Through times in my life, sin has distanced me from Him. But He, being the Son, just continued to shine, leading me back to Him Whom never fails and never changes! The intensity of my morning fire changed, the smoke changed, the sky changed, but the sun … it just became “Bigger!” The painting given to me is forever changed, gone, never to be just like that again. Each instance of sky is unique and different, just like the days and opportunities in our life. God designs that particular spot, at that specific time, for a precise purpose in His plan. A plan that is so much bigger than I. My deepest thoughts cannot fathom His slightest details. I must trust in Him, Who else could paint a picture so grand?
What a “Love Story” this picture did tell! Who would have thought that a stoked fire, a hot cup of coffee, a warm quilt and a window seat for gazing at a “Carolina blue sky” could make such an impact? It wasn’t these things … it was the “Painter” with a “Love Story” to tell. He just wanted to remind me of a very precious truth. God painted me a picturesque landscape for a morning devotion, I’m glad that I could share it with you!
(Writing from 2008. Reminder from my husband March 2, 2016. Thanks Babe for believing in me.)
LORD, pour in that I may be poured out!