A couple of weeks ago, I sat at my dining room table with a couple of friends and discussed with awe the world around us.  In the midst of busy lives and increasing advancements, sometimes it is easy to take for granted things that should be amazing to us.  For a few hours, my friends and I moved from topic to topic, considering the world with great awe.

Wonder is the normal response to splendor.

Thomas Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty

This event struck me because of how easy it is to view the world in a tired, jaded way.  While I know a decent amount of theology, my knowledge in so many other areas is small and incomplete.  In day-to-day interactions, I take many things for granted.  Things that would astound me, if I paused for just a moment to acknowledge them.  So we conversed with wonder about the internet, smart phones, suspension bridges, wind turbines, time, and solar power.  It was a joy to consider what the human mind has conceived and how it is possible for us to create things.  A couple of months ago, I read a book about a watchmaker who would travel by train to another town simply to get the correct time from an astronomical clock for his town’s clock tower.  We were amazed that now we could just look at our watches or phones to know the time.

I have had multiple situations where I have discussed with others the beauty of things I do not fully understand.  The complexity of a single human cell, the vastness of the universe, and the splendor of mountains have all, at one time or another, been a topic of conversation and awe.  Yesterday, I flew across half the country in less than three hours.  The fact that flying is even possible helps bring wonder into a situation that can be consumed by impatience with security and airline rules.  I looked with curiosity at the mountain ranges that looked like large creases on a landscape far below me.  A patchwork quilt of farmland and mile after mile of straight country roads soon greeted me as I neared my destination.  I spent much of my flying time reading a book, but every now and then I would look and marvel at the world below and this plane far above.

It is troubling that in a universe replete with mind-boggling fascinations masses of people live dull and drab lives….Fully jaded men and women, old or young, marvel at nothing….To be listless, dull, bored, and lifeless is not only a miserable condition, it is an illness, a fact obvious to anyone who is intellectually alive.  To respond to reality and to appreciate it are normal; not to respond is abnormal.

Thomas Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty

This world that surrounds us is quite magnificent.  It is beautiful beyond understanding.  People laugh a bit at me when I profess the beauty of South Dakota.  And when I was in high school, I probably would have laughed at myself, too.  It was only after traveling around Europe during my semester abroad, that I began to see beauty in a multitude of places.  The scenery became glorious because everything was surrounded in a golden halo simply because it was European.

When I came home, I found myself wanting to pull over to the side of the road to take pictures of scenery.  I was surprised that a field of corn filled me with joy or that wide open prairies seemed as beautiful to me in South Dakota as they had in Austria.  My eyes were opened to see the beauty that can be found anywhere.

Daily living in our astonishing global village, each of us is surrounded by a constantly surprising universe: the macrocosm and the microcosm, the incredibly huge and the incredibly tiny, and all that lies between.  But we vary greatly in our capacity to perceive what lies before our eyes….Just as the removal of cataracts restores clear vision, so does repentance restore the joy of youth and a capacity for the beautiful.  Wonder at reality demands the humility to sit at the foot of a dandelion.

Thomas Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty

Fear of the Lord as a gift of the Holy Spirit can also be called Wonder and Awe.  It requires us to acknowledge the greatness of our God and thus to recognize our littleness.  This gift grants us a desire to never displease Him or to turn from Him.  We want to serve Him because He is our good and gracious God.  Yet it also instills in us the ability to glory in His power, beauty, and goodness.  We can look at the world that He created and the human inventions that our God-given intellects have brought to fruition with eyes of wonder.  In fact, wonder is the proper response to a world filled with such intricate beauty and marvelous inventions.  Take a moment to pause in acknowledgment of the marvels of this world.

What aspect of God’s creation or human invention fills you with awe and wonder?
Share in the comments below!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Wonderful Awe

  1. Trish as I have been to many different places on this great world I can wonder how anyone can think that all this just happened and that God did not create this for us and him to enjoy. God has a great sense of humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I still remember the time I was in an airplane looking out the window at dark clouds below and around me. There was a thunderstorm happening on earth below, but we were too high up for it to affect us in the plane. But, I could see the clouds light up with flashes of lightning, and it was the most astonishing and breathtaking image. It actually makes me less nervous about thunderstorms now. It was extraordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

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