It was an image I’ll never forget, though it harkens back more than four decades. The sun was riding low in the west as I neared the iconic overlook to Yosemite Valley. On a clear day, the view stretches east from Bridalveil Fall in the foreground to the granite monolith of El Capitan and onward to the unmistakable wall of Half Dome.
This was not that sort of day.
Storm clouds had moved in, with thunder rolling its cadence among the rocky heights. As I parked at the viewpoint, the worst of the weather closed in about the end of the valley, hiding any hint of Half Dome behind an impenetrable black curtain. What a disappointment. I had hoped to see an idyllic postcard scene.
But then something amazing happened, as it often does with God’s creation when we are patient enough to watch and wait. Behind me the setting sun broke through a rift in the clouds, sending a yellow shaft of light down the length of the darkened valley. Suddenly El Capitan stood out in gold relief against the black backdrop of the storm. Bridalveil transformed into a glistening filament of diamonds. And with the divine magic of sunlight and raindrops, a brilliant multihued rainbow drew an arch from the heavens to the valley floor and took my breath away.
It lasted less than a minute, but in those few seconds, my disappointment was forgotten, replaced with a holy awe, an amazed gratitude for the unexpected. I didn’t take a photograph — I doubt my Kodak Instamatic would have captured anything like what I still recall in vivid memory.
If indeed a picture is worth a thousand words, God through His creation never runs out of things to say.
This February issue kicks off another year of our Images of Creation. It’s more than a Gleaner tradition. Plopped down in the midst of stupendous scenery, our Northwest members recognize that mountains, flowers, birds, waterfalls or waves have much more to offer than just a pretty face. These images remind us humans exist as part of a much bigger plan. There is a Creator, and He is not us. We are His children, part of His plan, made in His image, with a thoroughly divine and thoroughly human brother who understands our journeys firshand.
And if, as you look out on the landscape of 2017, darkness has closed in and the thunder is deafening, take heart. Look and listen for signs of the Creator. He is there in the dark, in the midst of your questions, doubts and fears. The rich spectrum of light sometimes shows best through the refracted prism of rain. Your story of survival or recovery may in God's timing become the catalyst of redemption for a fellow traveler.
Honoring our Creator is not just a two-hour stint on Sabbath. Throughout this year, whether our journeys be difficult or delightful, we will have countless opportunities to share Him with a world that needs its Creator now more than ever.