My family spent a week this past summer on a mission trip/vacation in Denver, Colorado. We went to the Royal Gorge, which is over 1200 feet deep in places. We went hiking in Estes Park, enjoying the mountain lakes, waterfalls, and breathtaking views. We love the Rocky Mountains!
My wife and I began talking (dreaming?) about planting a church in Estes Park. Imagine seeing those mountain peaks every day; to be able to sit beside those lakes almost anytime we want.
We were made for wonder. We were created to be awestruck. That feeling of smallness when we gaze into a clear, star-lit sky is purposeful. We are meant to forget ourselves at the rim of the Grand Canyon or the base of Niagara Falls.
We have been blessed with the capacity for wonder that we may respond rightly to that which is bigger than ourselves. Ultimately, we were designed to be in awe of God. His power, his wisdom, his grace, his holiness, his glory are breathtaking. The only proper response to him is to marvel at his greatness.
There is, however, a problem. I have been haunted by it recently. Familiarity seems to anesthetize our senses to wonder. As my wife and I discussed a move to Estes Park, we wondered how long it would take before the mountains we love would fade into the background of the daily grind. That’s what happens. We begin to take for granted that which was once awe-inspiring.
I have become keenly aware of my numbness to wonder in reading Scripture. I find it far too easy to read staggering truths of God’s power and grace, and simply move on to the next chapter. I know that the gospel is outlandish and unbelievable (apart from the light-giving work of the Holy Spirit), yet I am often unmoved by its beauty.
What do we do when the extraordinary becomes mundane? Can our sense of awe be awakened again?
I can’t give you a list of steps to move from ambivalence to awe. My chin doesn’t drop to my chest every time I open the Scriptures. But I am trying to fight for wonder. These are the things I am doing in this fight.
I know. Sunday School answer. But, the Spirit that first awakened me to the beauty of the gospel, must re-awaken the wonder in me. I ask God to give me the capacity to sense the weight and the magnitude of what I am reading. I ask him to give me the ability to respond in a way that matches the greatness of his truth.
I am trying to force myself to take the time dwell on what I am reading. For example, when I read of Jesus walking across the water, I must take the time to realize that this happened. This isn’t just a story intended to communicate a lesson to be learned. It happened in history. Jesus walked on the water! I am learning to steer my mind and heart to consider the wonder of such an event.
One of the reasons Christian community is of utmost importance is that it is designed to help us reject the narrative of the fallen world and embrace the story of God. We, as Christians, feed off of each other’s faith, hope, excitement, and awe. It is important to express what God has shown me in Scripture to others so that we might share a moment of God-gazing together. We spur one another on to amazement with who God is and what he has done.
I know that we are not to be guided by our emotions. I am not on a quest for a feeling of spiritual euphoria. But, if our God is an awesome God, as a popular song suggests (and he is), then shouldn’t our response to him be a response of awe? He has done marvelous things. We should marvel. He is a wonderful God. We should wonder at him.