Captivated

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So, while we’re in the desert, we visit this zoo and aquarium. We always do that when we go to new places–it’s just our thing, we love zoos and aquariums! I think we’re drawn to God’s art. And as much as I love the zoo animals, there’s something even more spectacular about the aquariums. I’m absolutely mesmerized by sea creatures.

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And by mesmerized, I mean that I’m utterly spellbound. I could stand speechless in front of a seahorse for the longest time. And I have. Just speechless. And when words do escape, the only thing I can get out is this quiet whisper, “God…You are amaaaaazing.”

And then something in me wells up and I nearly turn into this psycho girl who just let’s loose with this crazy laugh and I have to restrain myself from shouting out to whoever’s nearby, “Did you see this! Look at this!!! God is AMAAAAZING!!!!”

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Because you see, God is this Artist. The greatest artist I’ve ever known. And clearly He’s delighted by colors and light. All these textures and patterns. When He made this world, those sea creatures in the deep that for years and years, no one ever even saw, He drenched everything in vibrant beauty. Captivating splendor. And when He adorned a fish with it’s pompous fins and streaked it up in black and white, He was making art.

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So I stand amazed. Totally enchanted. And I’m nearly perplexed at why He would do this. Make a jellyfish so alluring in it’s translucent skin, fragile and shimmering. And that it would pulsate with movement. A gossamer wonder.

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And if this is what He made, and if these are His color saturated fingerprints everywhere, then of course my heart would resonate with the words of liturgical poet Nicodemus when he wrote:

“Every time you feel in God’s creatures
something pleasing and attractive,
do not let your attention be arrested by them alone,
but, passing them by,
transfer your thought to God and say:

“O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy,
how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy

art thou thyself,

Creator of all!”

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And somehow a jellyfish in a dark aquarium in a desert evokes me to worship. All I can do is worship. Because in the beginning, God created and now with these very eyes I see a glimpse of what He must be like through the things His hands have made. And with these very eyes I can see that He is not a graceless, mechanical, lifeless God. He’s a God who splashed colors and painted hues and who makes the earth to sing and this heart to dance with wild joy. He’s a God who pulsates beauty and I’m arrested by Him.

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And if He is real and He is true and He made all this and me and this day that I live in, then surely I’m not meant to merely plod along, comatose and dazed in a meaningless existence. Surely I’m meant to be alive while I live, awake to the abundant beauty around me.

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And as I look around and all about me, perhaps I am meant to look up, too, to the Maker of beauty Himself. To the Artist whose creation ignites my soul, jolts me awake to all this. To all this heart stirring wonder. This cosmos is His gallery. The sea depths His canvas.

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The Painter of starfish has won me over with the brushstrokes of His glory. How infinitely more captivating He must be. I can’t help but live my life worshiping Him.

“God made the heavens
Royal splendor radiates from Him,
A powerful beauty sets Him apart.”
(Psalm 96:5-6)

P.S. My pictures in aquariums never turn out good. I got these photos from here.

Also related: Ann Voskamp’s “Spilling God”

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