I Will Not Run Past the God of Wonder

I Will Not Run Past the God of Wonder November 7, 2012

Last month, we asked people to join us on a 31-day challenge to do something Amazing every day.  One common theme we saw in the Amazing stuff people shared was wonder.

People weren’t trying to add one more busy thing to their already button-popping-ly-full lives.  Instead they were looking at what was always there in front of them—a tree dropping leaves, a grandmother’s face—and seeing it for what it really is.

This month, Chrissy will be blogging weekly about nourishing this thing called wonder in your life.  As always, share your experiences here and on our Facebook page.

About 9 years ago, I wrote the letters “WONDER” sideways in a margin of my Bible.  The passage next to the word, underlined, read:

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. –Phil. 3:13a

What’s the “it” Paul is talking about?  He leaves the “it” frustratingly unnamed, just calling it the thing “for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Could it be that Paul—even this guy who so carefully spelled out the core tenets of the Christian gospel over and over again to form the foundation for all Christianity to come—even this Paul knew there was more he hadn’t grasped?

That’s exciting.

Often we treat the Bible like a textbook we just need to study hard enough so we can pass a multiple choice exam.  We can nail down all we need to know about Christ in four sentences, and have it down pat: salvation made simple.

Now I’m all for salvation being simple—it isn’t complicated, really, to accept the payment of Christ for our sins and receive forgiveness and eternal life.  Sure.  That’s the beginning.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It unfolds all day every day.

I like thinking that even Paul knew there was more to take hold of, more to experience, more to unravel and discover.  God is by no means only simple.

I see that sentiment elsewhere in Paul’s writings when instead of the word “gospel,” he uses the word “mystery.”  He writes, “God has chosen to make known … the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  That Christ would be in us, that we have hope of glory… this is a marvel worthy of wonder.

Wonder should shape how we read the Bible.

I was reminded of this word “wonder” recently as I talked with old friends about what we have appreciated most in different groups we’ve been a part of who have met together to discuss God and the Bible. We agreed that one aspect of our favorite groups was that they were comfortable with, even fostering, a sense of the unfathomable mysteries contained in the Word of God. 

I want to know that I’m in over my head.  I want to be aware of all I don’t know, the questions I can’t answer.

Wonder should shape the way we live. (Tweet this.)

I scrawled that word “wonder” in my Bible at a time when my life had been snowed in by a blizzard of wonder.  Wonder came in the form any parent will relate to: a baby.  I had just had my first child, a child I didn’t expect to be able to have, and who didn’t seem at all to fit in our crazy life of moving to China and completing graduate school at the same time.  Instead she fit in ways that were wonder-ful in every sense of the word: Full of wonder, day after day.

You hold a baby, and you have to wonder.  How all infinity fits in that little body.  How those little fingers will one day grow wrinkled.  How those little toes curling at your tickling fingers will fit adult sized shoes.  How that little face not yet learned to smile will speak to the world.  How those little eyes will see things you’ve never seen.  How that little body will face sickness, will one day will die.  When I looked at my baby daughter, I was learning to see mysteries deeper than I could know or write.

To look, and really look, at a child is to see the love of the One who made her and all miracles. (Tweet this.)

And you don’t have to be looking at a baby to see that.

I want to be a noticer, a studier, one who looks into all these questions of life and sees into the corners of every speck of dust and shaft of sunlight.  But in practice it isn’t so easy.  It takes practice to learn to see to the heart of life, to find all the miracles around us.  How much easier are the busy tasks that keep us wandering around our homes, snatching handfuls of snacks and wondering nothing more than where all the time went.

Too often I measure my days in activities crossed off a list.  Wouldn’t I rather measure life by epiphanies, what I’ve learned about facets of the human condition, moments collected in the attic of my memory to share with future generations?

Do you read the Bible with a sense of awe and wonder?  Where have you stopped to notice and wonder this week? Leave a comment below.


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