Something about the way the sunlight shines through the green leaves of a tree in August stirs my soul. Isn’t that odd? Something that happens, and has happened, every moment since the world was constructed so many years ago has the power to alter my state of mind. It’s nothing, and it’s everything. It is unnoticed by nearly everyone, often myself included, and yet it goes on an endless loop all day long. Only the sunset can calm it. Then the moon takes over and the coloring is different.
Who could create such a sight? Who would create such a sight? Why should it even matter? Because hearts matter, and desire matters, and simple beauty matters to the One who is himself the most beautiful. If simple sunlight through green leaves upon green grass is such a masterpiece, what must the One who gives it be like?
Add in a surprisingly cool breeze in the shade on a summer day and paradise seems to have arrived. I can smell the scent of cigar tobacco as well. A cup of hot coffee is beside me. It is a sensory delight. All of it. What must He be like? The creator of such simplicities that are not so simple. The giver of such gifts that are more like windows into his heart. The lover who spares no expense to lavish his bride. What must he be like?
Oh, to know him – to understand his ways. To be caught up in the net of his joy and to drown in the river of his delight. And yet he is knowable. Not because of the sunlight through the trees but through the One who stood under trees himself, who was placed upon a tree himself. Jesus, the one through whom and for whom and by whom all of the goodness of creation was made, subjected himself to the brutality that creation became under the curse of my sin. God is knowable because he became like me, but the perfect me. The me that I have ruined he redeemed. The me that I destroy every moment he endlessly restores. The me that deserves every evil in the world he bore in order to give me all the joy his Father has.
He did it all on a tree, without the sunlight shining down, without the beauty of the world. He did it by becoming all of the ugly that the world – his world – had to offer. He who knew no sin became sin so that I might have the righteousness of God.
And the tree that stands before me, whose leaves partially block the sun, yet allows a few rays to hit the ground – that tree is a portrait of the dying love of Christ for me. It’s not crazy. It’s the reason the world was created in exactly the way it was. There are cool, breezy, sunny summer days because God is on his throne and his purpose is to magnify his grace in the world. My noticing of the tree is no mere accident. It is a gift.
I wonder if I were to see him now in his glory would I see the sun shining through his pierced hands to the ground below? Would I find that beautiful?