1/18/14

Wonder and Awe - Where Is It?

Awestruck by the brilliance of a myriad of stars, I wept in profound silence. I stood on my back patio

in the hills 40 miles from downtown San Diego, studying the clear night sky.

But it was more than a stunning December night. I sensed the presence of God whispering to my soul. "I made this ... for you." 

It was one of those moments when wonder broke through. The wonder of the stars, the wonder of all creation, handcrafted for man to enjoy, but also to point us to God. The scriptures explain - the heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1).

All of nature was designed that our hearts might be stirred, that we might remember our Creator and praise Him"Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you," the Psalmist prayed. "Were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare" (Psalm 40:5, NIV).

God planned these wonderful gifts long before we were born, but it didn't take long for man to lose his wonder over God or His gifts. Today I look around and ask, "Where is the wonder? Why is it missing?"

I believe there are three reasons we lose the wonder of God, and they are all found in Ephesians 2:2-3. (We know them today as the world, the flesh and the devil.)

(1) The world steals the wonder. Before Christ, we walked according to "the course of this world" (Ephesians 2:2). We didn't care one bit about God and His wondrous works. Even believers, if they allow the world to influence them, will (intentionally or without thinking) shove Him aside.

Our culture distracts us, corrupts us, suggests different priorities. Godless worldlings want to define who we are, and they try to redefine who God is. While we are entertained, the popular culture sidetracks us from the truth. It paints a corrupt, diluted picture of God's character and purposes in the world.

Where the culture once accomplished this in subtle ways, now its attacks are more open and vicious. "There is no God," the culture says. "These wonders you see either evolved or are a result of man's intelligence and ingenuity." Or worse, the culture promotes self-worship: "You are your own god. Accomplish your own wonders."

Our circumstances can wear us out too. When we forget to practice gratitude to our Maker, we can lose the wonder of who He is and what He does. But I remember Job. In the midst of his suffering, he still praised God. He grasped for the wonder of God in the midst of his pain.

(2) Our hearts fight the wonder. Again, before we came to know Christ, we all "lived in the passions of our flesh" (Ephesians 2:3). It was natural to us. But even after we trust in the Lord and become a Child of Light, when we do not submit to the Holy Spirit's control and walk in the Light, we can live an ungodly lifestyle that fights against the wonder of God. Our sins may blind us to the true nature of what God is doing.

Our flesh deceives us. Our busyness distracts us. The idols we embrace or tolerate replace the wonder of God.

We are prone to compare. How does this stack up against God? We might not vocalize that thought, but we live it. We say we don't have time for God, but we have time for lesser things. We don't have time to be still and know He is in control. We don't take time to seek Him, know Him, praise Him. We don't take time to wonder. We're consumed with our own thoughts and goals, and when we achieve great things, we forget who gave us the strength and wisdom.

(3) Satan conspires against the wonder. The "prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2) desires to defeat or destroy our wonder. He wants us to forget our "great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3a). He intimidates us and causes us to second guess God: Did He really do these wondrous works? Is God as great as the scriptures portray Him?

Satan hates it when we stand in awe of God, when we fear Him as the Bible instructs us to do. He hates it when we worship God. In pride, long ago, our enemy - known then as Lucifer - lifted up his heart against the Lord (Isaiah 14:12-13), and he is diligent to encourage our own arrogance today. He wants us to dwell on the negative, how God has "failed" us. 

He casts doubt on God's Word - "Hath God said?" He lies and tells us God doesn't care. "God isn't great or good," he says. Satan wants us to dwell in the pits instead of praising God. He knows God inhabits the praise of His people; so he conspires to draw us away from the wonder. We must remember Satan is a defeated foe. We do not have to fall prey to his evil strategies.

The pull of the culture, the selfish wanderings of my own heart, and the influence of the evil one; these are all factors that work against the wonder of God. They work in the midst of my struggle for sanctification. But I want a revival of wonder that leads to joy (Psalm 85:6), so I must be more alert, prayerful and careful to guard my heart.


How about you? Have you lost the wonder of God? Why do you think this has happened? Do one or all of these three reasons resonate with you?

Check out all the "Wonder" articles under the sidebar label WONDER.

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