We want so much more–something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
From The Weight of Glory, Compiled in Words to Live By, The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
I captured this photograph during the sunrise on January 2, 2014. I named this photograph “Bathed in Glory” because those two words, one found within the beautiful quote above by C.S. Lewis and the other found within the title of his essay, perfectly described what I was feeling while standing in the midst of God’s beautiful sunrise that morning.
Very early that morning, a few hours before I went out to capture the sunrise, I received this quote by C.S. Lewis through one of my daily email subscriptions. When I read it, one of my goals for the day was to feature this quote by C.S. Lewis with one of my photographs on my website. By the time I needed to leave and capture the sunrise, I had already spent some time looking among my existing photographs for the perfect one to couple with the beautiful words of C.S. Lewis. I had no idea that the photograph best suited for this honor was yet to be captured, and would be in just a few short hours.
I truly did feel bathed in the glory of God’s presence at the time that I captured this photograph, not only because the sunrise was so beautiful, but also because He was giving me the strength to make it through the extremely cold winter morning we were having. During this sunrise, it was -9 degrees F with a -24 degrees F wind chill.
I was praying the entire time that God would give me the strength and determination that I needed in order to make it through the bitter cold morning and capture His beauty. I made it through 10 minutes of capturing His beautiful sunrise, resulting in 21 photographs to choose from.
At photograph 20, I decided that it was time to quit and get back to my warm car. My fingers were so numb, I couldn’t even feel the camera button anymore. As I was walking toward my car, I felt His still voice inside asking me to turn around and take one more photograph. I hesitated a few seconds, both out of disbelief at what He was asking of me and fear of frostbite, but decided to obey Him and capture one more photo. This photograph, the very last one I captured, is the result of my obedience.
When I got back to my car, my fingers were so numb I could barely open my car door with my key. I was very fortunate that my car engine was already warm from driving to my sunrise destination. I sat in my car with the heater blowing on my fingers in order to warm them up. While they were warming up, I was in so much pain and I thought for certain they had frostbite. God was so very merciful to me. My fingers were tender all day, but they were not frostbitten.
I can honestly say that shivering from the bitter cold and being in so much pain as my fingers warmed up was all worth it. I was able to experience feeling bathed in God’s glory!
We have an awesome God and He will give you the strength and determination needed to do anything you desire.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 20:4; Psalm 37:4) NIV
© 2014 by Gloria Gunderson
Photograph Link: Bathed in Glory