And God Said “Tonight I’ll Give Them….Chartreuse”

By the time we reached our favorite rocks the sun was setting over the ocean. The colors looked as if all the blue, purple, green and gold had spilled out across a canvas, blended yet distinct, in a crash of colors. Standing on the rocks we stared, we marveled. There is no way man could create such beauty.

My husband shook his head and looking toward the ocean said “And God said ‘Tonight I’ll give them….. Chartreuse'” We both laughed. It was just like that. As if God had come out with his brushes and in broad strokes painted the sky just for us, deciding on colors at the last minute to surprise and delight.

Of all the analogies that we try to use to help our finite peanut-sized brains grasp the character and person of God, God as artist is my favorite.

An artist that delights in the work of their hands, that paints with broad sweeps and draws with the infinite detail of pen and ink; that uses clay one day, shaping it into pitchers and bowls, and oil the next; that reaches into a never-ending box of brushes and artist supplies and comes up with the newest creative project.

And the grateful audience sits back in awe. Only we aren’t just an audience – we are participants in his creative process, his thoughtful design. We not only long for and appreciate beauty, we love to create it. Beauty nourishes the soul and revives the spirit.

When I doubt the goodness of God I have only to think of the ocean, the waves and the tonight-I’ll-give-them-chartreuse sky.

“Art is as much a necessity for man as eating and drinking. The need for beauty and creation embodying it is inseparable from man, and without it man would perhaps have refused to live in the world. Man craves it, finds and accepts beauty without any conditions just because it is beauty and worships it with veneration…. and it is perhaps in this that the greatest secret of creative art lies, namely that the image of beauty created by art at once becomes something to be worshipped without any conditions…. The need for beauty is felt more strongly when men are at variance with their reality, in a state of disharmony, in conflict, that is to say, when they are most of all alive.” Dostoevsky 

14 thoughts on “And God Said “Tonight I’ll Give Them….Chartreuse”

  1. Great quote from the master novelist & amateur philosopher Dostoevsky! He has some great insights. And some amazing novels that all should read.


    1. Jonathan has been inhaling Dostoevsky Wes and we are vicariously joining in! Although he accuses me of being way to slow with Crime & Punishment.


  2. Marilyn, how true and wonderful — our Creator is an artist. It refreshes my soul and mind to enjoy God’s nature and the manigfold beauty God spread out on this canvas called earth.
    You are also an artist — an artist with words — beautifying life. Thanks for these precious moments each day,


    1. Petra thank you for the beautiful affirmation, a gift in itself. You would have loved the sunset and I hope one day you can join us by the ocean.


  3. Love your analogy. Your blog reminded me of a time a co-worker and I (back when I used to work on helicopters) were standing beside a helicopter, in a large aircraft hangar, looking out the hangar doors at a magnificent summer sky. There were some billowing storm clouds off in the distance, and a few closer up, and the whole scene was awe inspiring. I told my co-worker that God had put that together just for him and me to enjoy. No one else had quite the same perspective as we did at that moment, and it was spectacular. Thank you for sharing your “chartreuse” experience.


    1. Vic – I think from now on I will borrow your last words and call these Chartreuse experiences. Was talking about you today as I am at a Pakistan reunion and it’s a bit like Heaven (except we’re all a bit grey and limping!) Thanks for this amazing story – I find it beyond understanding that God who holds the universe can still allow us to feel things are sometimes designed just for us.


      1. Please give my regards to all at the reunion. I was invited, but had to make a choice between visiting my folks in California earlier in the summer, or going there. I guess you know which won out. Mom and Dad are not up to the long trips any more, or they would have been there with you folks, as well. My classmates would be the class of ’72, which makes this our 40th year from graduation. Wish I could have been there, but really did enjoy the time in California.


  4. God as Artist is my favorite too. Our whole family goes nuts for thunder/lightning shows that He puts on. We turn out all the lights, open all the blinds and enjoy. My five year old twins pull us to the windows to watch the sky at sunset ( our favorite colors are every shade of ‘sky at sunset’).


    1. I love this Khaula! What a picture of your twins. As I was flying to a Pakistan reunion yesterday there was lightning all around the plane – it was like God’s strobe light show and I must blog about it!!


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