What is the role of wonder in our lives?
Flying is one of those things that just never gets old for me. I was 20 years old when I flew for the first time, and it happened to be an overseas trip. I was incredibly excited and of course a little anxious.
The trip happened to be not long after the movie Taken came out in theaters, and I also happened to be traveling to France, so my parents (mainly my mom) were wary to say the least. I got a lot of lectures before I left. But I didn’t get in cars with strangers and the trip was mind blowing and worldview expanding in so many ways, so it all turned out just fine.
I’ve flown many times since then, and it still elicits a sense of wonder. Wonder at how small everything looks, wonder at the gorgeous colors, clouds and landscapes, wonder at the mechanics of flight. Every time I fly, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of peacefulness, as if looking at the hazy blue horizon and wrinkled mountains remind me that God is not only in control, but alive and active, shaping the world around me.
I've been enamored with the wonder of God for the last year or so. I'm not sure what brought it to mind first, but I distinctly remember driving home one day from work and experiencing an overwhelming sense of peace while driving through the fields around my house.
When I wonder at God, that happens. Peacefulness, restfulness.
I used to wonder a lot when I was younger, too, especially as a young child and when I was in college. As a child I remember lying on the tool bed of my Papa’s pickup truck, imagining animals and other shapes in the clouds. In college, I would go the park and do the same, sit or lay in the grass watching the clouds. Sometimes I would listen to music, sometimes I would write or sketch or take pictures, but each time it was so quiet and I would be filled with wonder—about God and of God.
Then life redirected my thoughts. First it was graduation, then jobs, then marriage, then motherhood—daily to-dos, business, distraction. And I lost that sense of wonder for a little while. I’m just now getting a little bit of that back. But it has been a purposeful effort on my part to quiet my heart and mind and sit before the obvious wonders of God that bring me to a place of recognizing some of the unseen wonders of His character.
Wonder Leads to Worship
I have struggled with anxiety and control most of my life, and God has graciously been showing me over the past few years the healing nature of wonder and worship in my own walk with Him. My heart and mind are so much more restful when I'm in wonder, when I'm enamored with God and His work around me. My faith and hope are bolstered, my perspective clearer and my identity in Him strengthened.
Wonder of God leads me into greater worship of Him as a father and of Jesus as my Savior.
In his book, Awe: Why It Matters For Everything We Think, Say, and Do, Paul Tripp talks about awe in creation like this:
“God created an awesome world. God intentionally loaded the world with amazing things to leave you astounded. The carefully air-conditioned termite mound in Africa, the tart crunchiness of an apple, the explosion of thunder, the beauty of an orchid, the interdependent systems of the human body, the inexhaustible pounding of the ocean waves, and thousands of other created sights, sounds, touches, and tastes—God designed all to be awesome. And he intended you to be daily amazed.”
The mundane and magnificent beauties of the world around us are a gift of common grace from God. And daily wonder at these things can help elicit a sweet sense of His presence and care in our lives. It elicits awe. I love the definitions of these two words, wonder and awe, and how they are connected.
Wonder: noun - a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable; verb - desire or be curious to know something.
Awe: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
How are you experiencing wonder today?
What mundane or magnificent things around you bring you a sense of peace?
Where do we see awe or wonder in the Bible?
Does awe and wonder have a place in your life?
How does wonder at God’s creation point your thoughts toward Him?
If you’re having trouble experiencing awe or wonder, what do you think is stunting it?
Lord, I’m so thankful for the ways You use Your creation to point our hearts toward you. I pray you provide opportunities for us to experience wonder at your creation today and that it would lead us to be more in awe of You. I pray for peace for the hearts that are weary and struggling, that for even a moment today You would plant their vision on something greater than their pain. Give them awe of You that soothes their weariness. Remind us to be childlike in the way we see the world around us. Not cynical or critical, but seeking to wonder and be in awe. Amen.