I stood on the playground squinting at the sky while shading my face like a salute.
“Don’t stare at the sun,” my third grade teacher, Mrs. Rettig, warned.
“Why not?” I asked.
“It can blind you,” she said.
Her reply startled me. I quickly dropped my head and squeezed my eyes shut. Under my eyelids, a circle burned white, then red, then purple.
“The sun is very powerful,” she told me, “but we can’t survive without it. Can you name something we need from the sun?” she encouraged.
A circle still lit in my eyes. “Light.” I said.
“Right. Its light helps us see,” Mrs. Rettig affirmed. “Can you think of anything else the sun provides?”
In the chill breeze I felt the warmth from the sun on my arms and face. “Heat?” I guessed.
“Yes. What would happen if we didn’t have our sun?” My teacher asked.
“It would be pitch black, and we would turn into popsicles.” I replied.
Mrs. Rettig and I laughed. She continued, “Plants also need sunlight to make food. We eat plants, and we eat animals which eat plants. So, the sun is important for our food.”
Before then, I hadn’t thought of all the ways we depend on the sun. “We need the sun, but it can hurt us. That’s hard to think about.” I said.
Mrs. Rettig paused a moment, glancing up at the sky, then replied. “We depend on the sun, but we should respect its power.”
Her wisdom struck a note in my mind. “That sounds like God!” I said.
“It does. The sun shows us a little of what God is like,” concluded Mrs. Rettig.
Our Creator planted clues of Himself in our everyday lives. They hide in plain sight in the members of creation. The sun’s brightness causes us to shade our eyes and turn away, but God’s brilliance caused prophets to fall on their faces as if dead. We can’t imagine the brightness and weight of God’s glory, but we can experience a fraction of it in the sun’s magnitude.
Yes, yes, I know creation points to God, but I don’t often stop long enough to sense Him. When I do pay attention, not just remember, but enter into the experience, my mind, body and soul rejoice in Him. It’s like writing about a recollection of the sun. Remembrance doesn’t stir me in the same way as settling into the sand at the beach and watching the sunset. Hues of scarlet, tangerine and violet deepen, then melt and seep over the horizon. Overcome by the beauty and majesty of God’s handiwork, I experience a smidgen of Him.
We, too, are part of God’s creation, and carry whiffs of Him for others to experience. As the Bible says, “Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
When my soul wilts or I’m mentally tired and walk outside into the sunlight, I feel the sun’s warmth and squint into its brilliance. God refreshes me through His teacher, the sun. My senses help me experience a taste of the One who hung the sun in the sky.
“They who dwell at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the sunrise and the sunset shout for joy.” Psalm 65:8