God Hurt My Face

Canon AE-1 Program

Last week, God hurt my face. I’ll tell you all about it, but please bear with me – it takes a while to set up.

One of my hobbies is nature photography. I love to use my camera to capture God’s majesty in a sunrise, sunset, wide open vista, or especially clouds curling over the top of mountain peaks. As my wife says, “Who could doubt there is a God when looking at that.” So years ago, I felt I was in heaven as I set up to photograph clouds rolling over the top of Courthouse Butte in Sedona. I was in the zone. Click, sunrise light reflecting on the rocks with clouds sliding down the rock face. Click again as the sunrise colors kept warming up and the light angles improved and the clouds continued to flow. Click, click, click as the scene changed moment by moment!

Now, this was in the days of film (you youngsters can find a description of this extinct product on Wikipedia), and film came in rolls of different sizes, like the 36-exposure roll I was using that day. Only, I wasn’t – but I didn’t realize this until the camera clicked on exposure 37, then 38 and then 39. No film in the camera. No majestic pictures. No chance to load up and re-shoot as the sunrise and clouds had all passed by. And to this day, wispy clouds on mountains make me smile wryly as I recall this glorious, but undocumented, morning watching God’s handiwork.

So a couple months ago, I was driving through the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia on my way to a business meeting. And lo and behold, there were some of those wispy clouds hanging over the mountaintops and the usual smile formed on my mouth. But it didn’t stop there this time. A feeling of calm and peace and happiness settled over me. I felt warm all over and I knew I was in the presence of God. It is really hard to describe – I sincerely hope you have experienced something similar so you can relate to what this spiritual moment meant to me. There was no doubt in my mind about what this was. It was so special and tender and reassuring that I couldn’t even tell my wife about it for a few days.

I felt warm all over and I knew I was in the presence of God.

Fast forward to last week, and I am on the same road heading back to a follow-up business meeting on the same topic. As I neared the spot where I had had my spiritual moment, I sort of hoped for a repeat performance, but it was not to be. So on I drove. About 30 minutes later, I noticed wispy clouds on the mountaintops again, and thought “Thank you God, that is beautiful and I’m certainly smiling, but I had sort of hoped for another moment with You like last trip.”

No response – until I rounded a bend in the road and those wispy clouds had been joined by the end of a rainbow, and I smiled bigger and thought, “Okay God, that’s really special! You can’t top that!”

And that was when God’s sense of humor became evident. It was almost as if He said, “Oh really?” and then proceeded to prove me wrong for the next 60 miles. For the next hour, each bend in the road revealed God’s glory in increasingly majestic and beautiful ways. The wispy clouds and rainbow tail gave way to a full rainbow. Another curve and the rainbow straddled the roadway with both ends visible on the ground. I topped a hill and the rainbow framed the mountains with the ground-hugging clouds perfectly centered. A few miles more revealed the ends of a double rainbow with vibrant colors in both. A few miles further, and both rainbows were almost visible throughout their entire lengths. Next, the roadway seemed to be threading its way right between the two vivid rainbows where they met the ground. Each corner and curve revealed God’s artistry in more detail and magnificence. It was beautiful, inspiring, awesome and humbling all at the same time.

As a physicist, I fully understand the science behind rainbows. But on this day, I think God was playing with me and enjoying His mastery of refraction!

As a physicist, I fully understand the science behind rainbows. But on this day, I think God was playing with me and enjoying His mastery of refraction! Never have I seen such a variety of rainbows (partial, full, double) with such vividness of color over such a long duration (60 minutes). In fact, I smiled so hard for so long that by the end of those 60 miles, my face muscles hurt!! As Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful,” – and evidently sore!!

By the way, the rest of you who were driving on I-81 that day are welcome! I hope you enjoyed God’s handiwork too, even though I’m pretty sure it was meant for me!