Artist Bob Ross made it look easy every week on TV to paint pictures (which it is not). He’s famous for painting “happy little clouds” into his scenes. With a few brush strokes he put white paint to canvas and created those happy little clouds!
I, along with countless others, have enjoyed watching Bob Ross paint and then have appreciated gazing upon the final product at the end of the show. There’s another painter whose painting I enjoy and that’s God. His artwork isn’t hung on a wall or featured in a gallery. You simply have to look up and there’s His artwork. “Happy little clouds” doesn’t do justice to His work for they aren’t clouds measured in inches on a canvas but measured in miles, “happy big clouds” on a giant canvas of blue.
God paints upon this blue canvas of sky that’s miles thick and thousands of miles wide, extending from horizon to horizon, suspended on the black easel of space. His brush is the wind. His paint is evaporated water and He mixes in pigments of various colors from the setting or rising sun’s rays piercing through miles of air. The scene He paints is ever changing, unlike the static image that an earth-bound painter like Bob Ross paints.
Sometimes God dabs His brush of the wind, using upward moving currents of air, to create puffy cumulus clouds that are often thousands of feet high. Other times He paints cirrus clouds using the broad strokes of fast moving high altitude winds so cold that the cirrus clouds are painted with tiny ice crystals, instead of the paint of water vapor, creating wispy trails of clouds that go on for miles and miles.
One has the option of viewing the cloud-filled sky from a purely materialist point of view, that it’s evaporation, condensation, wind, and light that gives us the scene. Or one can take the view that there’s a creator/artist who uses material and natural processes as His painting tools to create something beautiful to be enjoyed, worthy of giving praise to the Painter.
The first option, I would argue, is like viewing a painting while stubbornly resisting giving any thought or credit to the artist who painted it. I prefer the second view, that recognizes the natural meteorological processes but also acknowledges that those processes are skillfully used by the Painter for our delight. This same dual observation can be applied to any part of the creation, appreciating scientific explanations of how trees grow, deer run, and birds sing while at the same time acknowledging and responding to the Creator who has made it all for our pleasure.
Bob Ross could quickly paint “happy little clouds” that amazed us as we stared at his canvas. There’s opportunity for us to be even more amazed. We just have to look up at the happy big clouds and be really amazed at what we see while in worshipful awe of the Painter!
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1