I just couldn’t get enough of that salty ocean air. The wind had become my constant companion and friend, taking the edge off the glaring heat of the southern sun. It wasn’t needed in the evenings, but was still a welcome addition to the crashing waves and golden light that surrounded every step along the ocean sand and over the shells.
Oh the shells! There were thousands upon thousands of them scattered and piled upon the sand. They came in with the waves and the tide only returned a few to the ocean. The rest awaited tourists and locals to pick through them, looking for treasures.
This particular evening found me earning my keep. My dear friend Erin had invited me to spend a week with her and her family at an oceanfront beach house. In exchange, all I had to do was take some family photos for them. Done!
We headed out to the beach to brave the fierce wind and capture forever memories. It was a challenge with three little boys, a setting sun, and that gloriously persistent wind. After the “official shoot” we wandered the beach looking for treasures, watching the sun set, and enjoying each other’s company.
When you’re watching the sun set at the ocean, every eye is on the water and the waves. However, one of the most important rules of photography is to turn around. The sun was lighting up the sky over the ocean, but it was sinking below the row of beach houses off to our right and behind us. Now, beach houses aren’t as exciting as the ocean, but beauty is everywhere.
I snapped several photos of the setting sun, but it wasn’t until I got home that I discovered the treasure. I had unwittingly captured someone capturing the sunset from their deck. As I looked through my photographs I didn’t have any of the person photographing the brilliance behind them. I wonder if they ever turned around. Did they even know that there was an explosion of color happening behind their back?
It reminds me that so much in life is determined by our perspective. From the shoreline I could see this beautiful view, but only if I changed my perspective. The picture maker on the deck could have seen some of these beautiful colors too, if only they had turned around.
When challenging things happen in life, we often ask ourselves, “Why?” “Why me, God?” is one of our biggest complaints. Yet I look at this photograph and I remember that it’s all a matter of perspective. My perspective as a human in the midst of a difficult situation is much smaller than God’s perspective. He sees the big picture. He knows how our challenging circumstances will change us, shape us, and refine our character.
He may not have created the tragedy we are going though, but He knows how He is going to use it for our good. Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) tells us:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
The next time we are facing a difficult situation let’s remember that the God who paints a masterpiece across the skies each night, the Picture Maker Himself, is making something beautiful out of our circumstances too. We can trust that His perspective is wider than ours and that He has a plan to work all things for our good. He not only gives us right standing, He gives us His very own glory. Wow!
And that, my friends, is how I captured The Picture Maker. (Click to Tweet.)
Until next time,