God is Found in Sunsets, Not Formulas

“Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little time is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder.” -Donald Miller

I’m a sunset guy. I never tire of watching the sun fade into the horizon, as I’m regularly snapping away, adding to my ever-growing collection of majestic sunset photos. No matter how many times I’ve seen one, I can’t get enough. There is something about the beauty of the sun radiating those brilliant colors while slolwly dipping below view to cap off another day, a day never to return. I think it must be God’s way of saving His most masterful brush stroke for the grande finale.

One of my favorite places to watch the sun put an exclamation point on the day in Virginia Beach is by the Chesapeake Bay near the Lynnhaven Inlet. While most of our beaches face towards the east, this stretch of sandy shoreline curves back around the Chesapeake Bay, facing to the northwest. This allows for breathtaking views of the amber hues fading behind glistening waters and the spectacular 17-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. I could visit this magnificent spot everyday for the next year, but no two sunsets will ever be exactly the same.

“The Heavens declare the Glory of God,
and the sky above declares his handiwork.”
– Psalm 19:1

God is the Creator. He’s continuously providing us with fresh artwork, all for our pleasure and to proclaim His awesomeness.

And yet we try to box this same author of art into well-defined formulas so that we can comprehend how He will show up in our lives, mostly for our own benefit. We need a means to understand things unseen so that we’ll know what buttons to push to derive the answers and outcomes we want.

Yet, the next time we’re tempted to believe 7 Steps to a Fulfilled Life or 224 Methods of Discovering God’s Favor, let’s instead bask in the glow and splendor of His sunset and reflect on the wonder of the life He’s given. While we’re busy searching for His perfect will, He continues to say “I’m here.”

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  • Scott Johnson

    Wise advice, Chris! Psalm 19 is one of my favorite Psalms. God reveals so much of Himself to us each day as we walk out the door.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Thanks Scott. That’s one reason why I love the outdoors so much. It’s a place where we can easily draw near to Him.

  • http://aparchedsoul.com/ Grayson Pope (A Parched Soul)

    This reminds me of something I read in Francis Chan’s “The forgotten God.” He was talking about the difference between exegesis and aisegesis (spelling?), or the difference between letting Scripture speak to us or bringing our own expectations to the Scripture in order to find what we are looking for. We should always be doing the first, exegesis, not the latter. If we make God a formula we risk putting him in a box and defining him by our terms. Not exactly biblical. Love the imagery here, great post.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Thanks Grayson. I struggled with this concept for a while because I like lists, outlines, bullet points – anything to make God measurable and simple to classify. As you said, this kind of thinking causes us to put Him in a box and shut off the aspects that we can’t always explain in human terms.