The glittering stone in a Manhattan shop window has stopped me in my tracks.

It is some sort of giant, purple geode set on display so the descending light dances over its hundreds of facets. It is the perfect lure – “Look, a shiny thing!” – to draw me into the store.

I am amazed. By the sheer size of these dazzling rocks. (Not to mention their prices!) But also, I’m astounded by the mind of the One who created them.

For, not only are gems on display. There are fossils.

And I think about how these have been laid by the hand of God deep underground for his own good pleasure. And, if humankind is able to discover them, for us to also enjoy.

One summer in my college years, I gave a group of summer campers shovels and told them to dig. I had discovered the foundation of an old farmhouse in the woods and had the bright idea of introducing my assigned kids to the pleasures of archeology. Mostly from the inner-city, they were less than enthusiastic. Even more so, when after the hard, muddy work, all we held were bits of broken pottery.

We took our finds to the local historical society and showed them to the director, expressing our disappointment. He chuckled a bit and said, “Well, as a rule, people don’t normally leave behind their treasures.”

But God is much more generous! I stand before what looks like a giant, polished nautilus. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful – both in the elegance of its mathematical curve and in the intricacies of its complex ornamentation. To think this was dug up from the ground!

In Job 38:4, God silences Job with the question, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” All of us, if we could find our voice before such an intimidating Maker, would sheepishly answer, “Not there.”

And yet, when he laid that foundation, he sprinkled it with marvels for us to find, left behind for our delight. Left to startle us once again by the vast variations that flow from the creativity of our loving Father.

There are times, Lord, when we look at your creation – the stars above, the earth below – when we are dazzled by your beauty. It makes us want to grab a stranger and point to it and say, “I know him!” Thank you for your generosity in sharing it with us. And leaving some of it for us to discover on our own.

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.