Apr 1 2015

Seeing With Wonder

_DSC9010Earlier today I took a longtime family friend out to see some of the bald eagles that we have nesting nearby.  It was the first time she had ever seen eagles close up in the wild and it was fun watching her excitement.  She told me that as the eagles would fly in and out of the nest her heart would start pounding.  When it came time to go I had trouble getting her to leave.  The bald eagles filled her with such wonder and awe she found it difficult to walk away from them.  I was touched by her enthusiasm but it also served as a reminder that because of my frequent sightings of bald eagles in the area I don’t get as excited about seeing them as I once did.  I certainly still enjoy seeing bald eagles but I will confess that because it has become routine I have lost a good bit of the awe and wonder my friend displayed this afternoon.

In her book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith writes “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”  I think that is wonderful advice.  It may be hard for some of us to regain the excitement of our first sighting of some bird, animal or flower but we should be able to discipline ourselves to look at things with the recognition that it might be our last time to do so.  I suspect we would pay far more attention than we normally do if we looked at things this way.

_DSC8958I am convinced that we need more wonder in our lives.  G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”   There are certainly no lack of things found in God’s Creation that should cause us to experience wonder and awe.  Unfortunately, the problem is we fail to pay attention to these things and thus miss out on the wonder of it all.

_DSC8984One reason why I believe wonder is needed is that I see it as a prelude to worship.  When we experience wonder and awe we are on the verge of worship; we find ourselves very close to the God of wonders.  I have indicated numerous times on this site that I believe God has made the world not just to meet our physical needs but to point us to Him.  If we have eyes to see and ears to hear we will find much that will lead us to worship the Maker of heaven and earth and as Betty Smith indicates, it will also cause our time on earth to be “filled with glory.”

The next time you find yourself outdoors I encourage you to pray that God will help you look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time.  I have a feeling that it will truly make a difference.


Mar 3 2010

The Wonder of It All

“The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder.”                                                          G.K. Chesterton

leaf on ice 605This past weekend we took our youth from church to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  On Saturday we spent a number of hours at a tourist attraction called Wonder Works.  Since it is housed in a gigantic upside down building I figured the whole thing would be hokey.  I was wrong.  Wonder Works is committed to exposing people to the wonders of nature and science in a fun, hands on, sort of way.  I’m glad such places exist.

 Studies have revealed that a child’s creativity, which includes wonder and imagination, diminishes by 90% between the ages of five and seven.  When adults gets to be forty, they have only about 2% of the creativity they had when they were five years old. This is tragic for a number of reasons.  For one, wonder lies at the heart of worship.  For another, wonder adds much joy to life.

 In his book Real Worship Warren Wiersbe writes, “True wonder reaches right into your heart and mind and shakes you up.  It not only has depth, it has value; it enriches your life.  It is an encounter with reality—with God—that brings awe to your heart.  You are overwhelmed with an emotion that is a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear—and love.  You are not looking for explanations; you are lost in the wonder of God.”

Wiersbe goes on to note that wonder is born of knowledge, not ignorance.  He says, “The more a truly reverent person knows about a flower or an insect or God, the more overwhelmed he is.  …truths give to the reverent saint a burning heart, a thrilling encounter with God.”

 I believe Dr. Wiersbe is on to something here.  All of us need more wonder in our lives.  It is, in fact, critical for our spiritual lives.  And I know of few things that will move us toward wonder better than spending time in God’s Creation. 

 If you are experiencing a shortage of wonder and awe, now might be a good time to head to the mountains, the dessert, a river or lake, or some quiet spot outdoors closer to home. Or as Rob has reminded us from time to time, enjoy the wonders of your own back yard.  Wherever you go, take in the wonder of it all and let your hearts be lifted in praise to the Maker of heaven and earth.


 (I spotted the beech leaf pictured above hanging on to the ice on a rock across the street from my church office. It caused me to wonder…)