I wonder what ever happened to wonder. God has planted eternity into the hearts of mankind. Like a tiny seed that will one day grow into a majestic towering tree there is a speck of desire, a promise of awe that is planted into the very fertile heart of human beings. Yet I wonder where that wonder has gone.
We are so prone to wandering away from wonder. We run from the mysterious. We chart out our lives; planning, scheming and mapping out our journeys. We teach our children that laws and numbers govern their lives. We show them formulas and equations.
Conditioned to Wander from Wonder
As each year passes us by we grow less and less intrigued by the fiery splashes of reds, oranges, and purples as the sun’s last rays brush the clouds on a winter night. We are taught to figure. Taught to explain. Taught to rationalize. The stars go from being twinkling sentinels in the deep, dark azure ocean of the heavens to simply being giant balls of burning gas that will one day wink out of existence.
Psalm 147:4 says, “[God] determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” (ESV)
“Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (ESV)
We are conditioned to make habits. Habits that edge out wonder at the end of the day. Habits that drain the mystery out of life. Habits that squeeze the wonder out of our hearts.
We wander through the course of our life erecting mile markers and sign posts, conquering frontiers as we go. I wonder, in all this wandering, do we ever arrive? With each generation that explodes on the scene and then fades into obscurity there have been discoveries, explanations, and rationalizations that erode wonder away. Progress and her companion, Technology, threaten to choke the last vestiges of wonder from mankind’s hearts.
I wonder if life would be lived better if lived in the fashion of the ancients. Magi following a star that to them was surely a sign of some great happening. Sailors fearing the great chasm of emptiness at the ocean’s edge. Astronomers seeing the heavens as a great canvas painted by something far greater than themselves. Tribes appreciating wildlife as something more than just a meal or a commodity to raise funds.
Yet here we are today with more technology, more knowledge, and more stuff than ever. There are hardly any mysteries left. Science has driven us indoors. It has increased the quality of living, while at the same time decreasing the quality of living, really living.
In spite of the heaps of knowledge we accumulate, the piles of explanations and equations that categorize the minutia of our very existence, there still remains a flicker of wonder within every man, woman, boy and girl. Some call it chemical, some call it emotion, I call it wonder.
It is the very DNA of God sewn into the fabric of our hearts. Our spirits, the core of who we are, are designed to respond to something bigger, better, and more wonderful than we could ever imagine. No theories or hypotheses could come close to capturing the essence of that divine spark within the depths of who we are.
Don’t Let Knowledge Muscle Out Wonder
I truly believe that God has given us science, technology, and progress for our benefit. I believe He has given them to us to better the quality of life for those around us. I believe we have taken those things and used them as swords to fight off mystery, mysticism, and wonder. It doesn’t kill us to have knowledge. In fact, knowledge is a beautiful thing. But when knowledge muscles out wonder, we’re left with empty facts and meaningless formulas that do nothing to assure us of what’s next.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 talks about God’s timing. It talks about eternity being woven into the hearts of mankind. God makes all things beautiful in HIS time. We have a deposit of things to come. God has planted that seed of wonder, that sense of ancient and future, that mystery into our hearts and given us this natural world to live in and explore. One day we’ll see the fruit of those seeds. But for now we keep on doing the work that He’s given us. We keep living the life that He’s blessed us with.
Regarding Ecclesiastes 3:11, Matthew Henry says, “We must wait with patience for the full discovery of that which to us seems intricate and perplexed, acknowledging that we cannot find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end, and therefore must judge nothing before the time.”
Take some time this week to pursue wonder. Do something simple with family and friends to capture moments of wonder. Take in a sunset. Play in the rain. Gaze at the stars. Listen to waves crashing at the ocean. Be still and just listen to a child breathe as they sleep. Take in the beauty of your lover’s eyes. Rest your head on their chest and just listen to the rhythmic beating of their heart. Ponder. Wonder.
BE still. Be STILL.
Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.