Saturday, February 1, 2014

We've Lost the Wonder

            I was at a seminar not too long ago.  And the speaker asked us to think of a word or phrase to describe how we see ourselves.  And then he asked a few people to share their phrases.  One lady stood out to me; she said, “I feel like a child full of wonder, filled with delight at God’s creation.” 
            My goodness, how long has it been since I have felt that way?  I envied her.  How wonderful it must be to go through life like that, feeling so alive and free and inspired.  On the contrary, I could only think of this phrase to describe myself, “A third-wheel, I don’t really belong.”

            I’m reading Job 40 and 41 right now, where God is talking about the behemoth and leviathan.  In God’s responses to Job’s complaining, there’s a common theme of “wonder.”  God is asking Job if he can explain things that are too wonderful for him to know.  God is pointing out that there are way too many things that are beyond Job’s understanding, things that should make Job marvel and fall at God’s feet in humility.  And in order to have a proper view of and fear of God, Job needed to get this straight.
            We need to get this straight.
            I fear that we have lost this in our day and age.  We have lost the ability to wonder at things that are beyond our comprehension.  We don’t even realize how much is beyond our understanding because we have “science” and “discoveries” and “theories” and all that.  There is little that we marvel at anymore because it can all be explained somehow. 
            And the result is that we are jaded.  We’ve lost that child-like wonder and delight.  And I think when we lose the wonder, we lose the ability to be in awe of God, to marvel at Him, and to realize how tiny we are by comparison. 
            And we need to do something to capture this again, especially as we age, and as there are more things that science “understands,” and as we develop more and more responsibilities and disappointments.  But how can we reclaim the wonder, the delight?  What kinds of things make us stand in awe of God? 
            I think if God were to give an answer to our busyness, our constant search for knowledge, and our disillusionment with life, He would say:
            “When you see a rainbow, stop your car and just watch it for a moment.   It’ll disappear so fast.” 
            “Grab a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise.” 
            “Take a walk in the evening and feel the cool breeze on your neck and listen to the birds sing.”
            “Stand outside and meet the storm head-on.  Let the rain fall down your face.”
            “Watch a squirrel hide walnuts in the ground.”
            “Laugh with your child.  A really good belly laugh.”
            "And my goodness, when you're driving on a beautiful day, ROLL THE WINDOW DOWN and turn the music up and enjoy it."
            We need to grab hold of all the wonder that we can find.  Wherever we can find it.  In the moment.  We need to live with eyes wide-open.  To let ourselves be dwarfed by the beauty and goodness and majesty of God and His creation so that we can say, “Wow, God, You are simply amazing!”
            If I could, I would recommend that everyone plants some kind of a garden.  A rose garden, wildflower garden, herb garden, vegetable or fruit garden, or a little container garden.  It doesn’t matter what kind, just plant one.
            For me, worship is not so much singing at church.  I get overstimulated easily and too much noise bothers me.  But being in a garden, surrounded by quiet and creation and all these wonderful plant-gifts that I had no part in creating makes me stand in awe of God.  It reminds me how big He is and how small I am, and it makes me want to fall down at His feet and worship Him. 
            When I see the full-grown tomato plant that I grew from a seed, I go, “My goodness, God, You are brilliant!”   
            When I see the delightful mix of colors that pop up in a random scattering of cosmos seeds, I smile and say, “You are so creative!”  And then when I see the goldfinches visiting the garden all fall to eat the cosmos seeds, I smile again.  He is so good!
            When I smell the roses in my yard – Therese Bugnet, Blanc Double de Coubert, Kiss Me, Music Box, and more - I feel so blessed that God would place such a beautiful scent in such a beautiful package and allow us to grow it in our own backyards.   
            When I watch the happy faces of the sunflowers reaching to the sky, climbing higher and higher until they tower over me, my heart just breathes deeply and exhales out all the tension and concerns that I carry around all day.  It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re admiring a sunflower.
            When I harvest and dry my oregano and parsley, I get to remember and enjoy God’s goodness all winter as I crumble it into my soups and spaghetti sauces.
            There is just so much beauty and delight and blessing in a garden that it makes my heart want to burst with praise for our wonderful Creator!  In fact, whenever I daydream about what I’d love to be doing in Heaven (besides worshipping around the throne, of course), I’m always standing all alone in the middle of a huge garden (am I an introvert or what?), walking up and down the plants, gently tending to each one and breathing deep the wonderful scents and sights.  (And there’s also a little studio in the middle of the garden where I can paint.  Because I dream that in Heaven I’ll actually have some skill in painting since I don’t have any now.  Even my stick figures look sad.)
            If you have any room at all, plant a garden!  (I am always amazed at how many people have wide, empty yards where there is more than enough room for a garden.)  The rewards are amazing.  It fills your soul and surrounds you with His goodness and creativity.  It makes you feel humbled that He has blessed us with such wonderful things, that He has given us dominion over His creation, and it makes you want to do your best with it for His glory.  And most importantly, it brings back that child-like wonder and delight that our souls desperately need and it just makes you want to praise Him!  He is so amazing!    

(February’s posts are going to be about my garden.  About all of the lessons that I have learned from having one, spiritually and practically.  It’s my hope that I can inspire you to plant your own garden, to soak up every good thing it offers, to learn from the mistakes, and to delight in our great Creator.  I hope that this little trip into my garden warms and brightens your winter a little bit and makes you excited for the spring.  But, of course, make sure you take the time to inhale all of the goodness of the winter, too, as you look forward to warmer months.  So, let’s go a-gardening!)