At some point in each of our lives, we were deeply touched by a profound encounter with Jesus Christ. It was a mountaintop experience, a moment of immense consolation. We were swept up in peace, joy, certitude, love. Quite simply, we were overcome. Our minds and hearts resonated with awe and wonder.
We … eventually returned to the routine occupations of our daily existence. … Slowly we got caught up in the demands of ministry or career and the distractions our busy world offers. … We had become preoccupied with something else, even though it was far less life-giving and captivating. It is possible we may never love anyone as much as we loved him, but even the memory has grown dim.
… The presence of Jesus grows more and more remote. “Thorns and thistles choke the unused path.” A verdant heart becomes a devastated vineyard. … The paltriness of our lives is mute testimony to the shabby furniture of our souls. – Brennan Manning “The Ragamuffin Gospel”
No one can live swept up in wonder. Not for the long term. It’s too taxing. Too time-consuming. We simply do not have time. … or do we? Perhaps that perceived lack of time is the problem.
Two mornings in a row, as I drove the kids to school, we headed east on the usual street we travel. But this past week has been rainy, unusual for the Central Valley. We crested a small overpass to the sight of snow-capped mountains shining against the horizon. Clouds misted the sky gray and blue, except for the eastern edge where mountains shone gold beneath the rising sun. It was beautiful. Awe-inspiring. I oohed and awed along with the kids.
Then our minivan descended the hill, I swung a right, and we drove to school. To work. To the real world. If I could have, I would have stopped on the side of the road and feasted on the sight. Better yet, if I could have, I would have continued driving east until we were out of the city, with no buildings to block our view of the glorious morning. Maybe straight on into those snowy mountains for a day of fun and wonder.
But I couldn’t. The kids had school. I had work. Then classes. The day swept along until it was over. The next moment I had to take a breath was on the bus returning from university after dark that evening. I was tired. Looked forward to getting home, eating dinner, and getting to bed.
It seems there is so little time for awe. For wonder. Even for beauty.
Even so, it beckons. It waits. It is always there. In a glorious sunrise or a peaceful sunset. In a blossom-laden tree or a brilliant rosebud. In a clear view to snowy peaks or the sound of waves washing clean a distant beach. If we look, if we listen, wonder is everywhere in nature.
As though a God of beauty and passion and forgiveness, a God of love, lines the path of our days with invitations to wonder. As though, beyond and within each of the creations He sets along the path, He is there, asking us to stop, to look, to enjoy and appreciate. To see Him and be swept up in the glory of His presence.
“Without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). He brings light and life, meaning and purpose to every moment. If only to behold the splendor of life … and see His glory within all things.