She was sitting in the living room working on some school when she looked up. Pink light was streaming through the windows, the clouds outside were orange and purple, even the shadows of the trees were deep magentas. The girl leaped from the couch to gaze through the glass, marveling at the colors. But it wasn't enough.

Without a second thought, she rushed out the back door, jumped onto her bicycle, and pedaled down the gravel lane as fast as she could go. Somehow, the cold wind whipping her hair seemed to enhance the brilliance of the sky above. Riding up the hill through the trees, she could only see snippets of the clouds, but each glimpse made her eager for the view she knew was coming.

She rode out of the trees and caught her breath.

It was so much more than she had expected. So much more beautiful than she had imagined. She leaped off her bike and clambered up onto the old tractor, as if standing closer to the sky would increase its majesty. After a few attempts to capture the scene in a picture, the girl decided to stop and simply enjoy the colors while they lasted; no photo would be able to show someone else the glory of this moment.

Her thoughts circled around her Savior as she watched. Yes, she knew that many others were probably watching the same sunset, but to her it felt like a personal gift. A token of love. A painting whose sole purpose was to softly proclaim, "Shelby, I love you." It was almost too much to grasp to think that she, a girl who could do little more than attempt to please God, was loved by One who could fill the entire sky with vibrant life.. She sung quietly to herself the words that came without thinking, "He loves us, oh how He loves us, oh how He loves..."

The colors began to fade. The staggering brilliance slowly drifted into a beautiful mix of light pink and dark blue. And before the long, the colors, along with the sun, sailed over the horizon. There was a tinge of sadness, but a peaceful joy in knowing that the love declared in that sunset would never fade away. She descended from her perch atop the tractor seat, and climbed slowly onto her bicycle. After one last gaze at the last glimmers of orange and purple, she pedaled back into the trees. A deep peace settled in her spirit as she rode, basking in the love that followed her home.

If only everyone knew the love that was contained there. The love that could explode into the sky. The love that could calm a grieving heart. The love that poured from nail-pierced hands. The love that wants nothing more than for each lost child to come home.

From then on, she knew that each sunset would be more than just a love letter. It would be a reminder from the Lover of her soul to tell everyone about the Painter of the sky.


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