I was in St. Louis recently for a writers conference. Sunday morning I awoke an hour early, got ready, walked across the street to the Arch, and made my way to the edge of the Mississippi River. Good timing got me there just as the sun was about to rise.
I’d love to tell you I had the perfect view. Instead, on the other side of the river, the beauty of the sunrise was framed by a casino to the north and some kind of an industrial plant to the south. At first, when the sun was still beneath the horizon, I couldn’t help but study those two rather ugly buildings. But then, as the sun rose higher and higher, my gaze shifted past the ugliness to the beauty beyond.
It wasn’t the sunshine that had my gaze riveted, it was the way the light played off the thin clouds, casting them in different shades of pink and orange and purple. And when I turned to gaze at the Arch that had been a dark figure in the sky, I saw it shining in golden glory. As the sunshine filled the sky, my heart filled with praise for the God who created it.
I made a few observations that day:
- Only when we choose to focus on the glory of God can we see beyond the ugliness that sits right in front of us.
- It isn’t the sunshine that dazzles us at dawn, it’s the way it plays off the clouds. In the same way, the way God’s glory shines through the difficulties in our own lives can be a spectacular vision for those around us.
- When the Arch was cast in darkness, it was a looming figure in the pre-dawn sky, but when the sun shined on it, it became a beacon of gold. In the same way, when God shines in and through our lives, we can be beacons to the people around us, pointing them to Him.
At that writers conference, I met with a few editors about my most recent novel. I don’t know if those meetings are going to be fruitful in the end, but I do know that God met me in St. Louis that Sunday morning in the sunrise, and I hope to shine with His glory, whatever happens.
How about you? When can you remember God showing off his glory to you? Did you make any observations?
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.