June 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 11

God's Rays

Janice Alonso

Photo of the sun rays agains a blue skyA couple of years ago, my husband and I took an Alaskan cruise. It was one of the best trips we've ever taken. We floated between ice-capped mountains, hiked up steep fjords, waded through swampy coastal areas, and explored lush rain forests. As far as my eyes could see, nature stretched out in all her majesty in uninterrupted and never-ending beauty. Alaska's vastness reminded me at every turn how small and insignificant I really was in the scheme of things, and how easy it would be for me to disappear and never be found in this corner of the world.

For years I have begun each day with scripture, prayer, and quiet time with God. When I travel, my routine remains the same. Not meaning to sound arrogant or pompous, I admit that I've always felt I was special to God, and that despite my prayers for humility, I too often assume God is tl1ere to make the day right for me. During my quiet times with God in Alaska, I'd never felt His presence closer, but I also felt ashamed of my inflated self-worth. I asked His forgiveness for these feelings. It's a big world, after all, and how special could I possibly be? God loves all His children.

A few days after my arrival home, I removed the digital card from my camera and took it to the store to have the pictures printed. Photo after photo opened the wondrous memories stored in my mind. Then I shuffled to one of the many I'd taken of the fjords as we traveled Tracy Arm, a passageway about 50 miles southeast of Juneau. The photo was a symphony of blues. The variations in shades ranged from deep navy blues in the shadowy slopes to the aqua blues captured and then reflected from tl1e water. The color of the floating icebergs reminded me of the blue popsicles I savored as a young girl. The sky was a beryl blue, with the snowy peaks and clouds taking on a pale blue like that a newborn baby boy might wear. However, in the midst of all these blues was a series of sun rays that provided the only other color. Reds and yellows contrasted against the blues in this snapshot. When I was taking the picture, they hadn't appeared at all, neither in my naked eyesight nor in the viewfinder of my camera. After some research I found out what they are.

The scientific name for them is crepuscular ray. The complete explanation talks about the reflection, diffraction, and scattering of light. Basically this phenomenon most often occurs "when objects such as mountain peaks or clouds partially shadow the sun's rays like a cloud cover." (definition from Wikipedia) What I found most interesting is that these crepuscular rays are more commonly known as "God's rays."

As I studied the picture, my feelings of the vast remoteness I'd felt that morning returned. I also remembered my thoughts of being unimportant and of being where I could never be found.

Photo of a foggy yellow and orange sunrise above the mountainsWhere can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
And the light become night around me,"
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139: 7-12

The photograph told a different story. God's message was clear: There is no place, time, or situation that I am lost to Him, and yes, I am special. The most beautiful part of my revelation is that this message is meant for everyone... for all God's creations.