What Happened to Wonder?
Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – December 2018
By Pastor Lloyd Pulley
Every question today seems to invoke the same answer.
We turn to this powerful search engine often because we want to know the answer. With over 5 billion searches made a day, finding information through Google has become a normal routine. In a future article I may unpack the many ways this ubiquitous search engine profiles us, offers biased suggestions, learns what we are susceptible to and as such can sway a generation of people socially, religiously, economically and politically. But for now, what about the questions Google can't answer?
To a child even simple things give a sense of wonder. Do you remember marveling at a shooting star, a beautiful landscape, or grandpa's silly magic trick? Something changes in us when we learn how things work. We lose that sense of wonder. We assume knowing how a thing works is equal to the fuller knowledge of its origin and purpose, but life's answers go far beyond the zeros and ones of our technology.
First off, the drive to know is a God given attribute. According to the Bible, we were made in God's image and given dominion over the earth to cultivate and develop it, but this divine capacity, through rebellion, morphed into a desire to be like God and even replace him. This eventually sparked the judgment of the Great Flood. The Bible also reflects, as does history, a culture seeking answers sans God has never ended well. At the very least, it loses its sense of wonder.
When we lose our sense of wonder, we have to turn to something. We don't do uncertainty well! We hate unanswered questions and so we become susceptible to anyone who promises answers. Eventually, this leads to disillusionment. A growing number of young people are deeply dissatisfied with the state of our nation and our world, wondering why the utopia they hoped for delays. Will we stand in wonder of God above us or will we choose to be enamored by false promises of science, technology and a new world?
Wonder is lost. Wonder is that sense you get when you receive something more than you expected. A child will squeal with joy when they open a present beyond what they expected. We sense wonder when something beyond the mundane brilliantly bursts into our view. We long to recapture that sense of awe and escape from the dull and depressing because, I believe, we were made for something greater than ourselves.
This is where we would benefit greatly from turning to the ultimate wonder during this Christmas season. In describing the birth of Jesus, the Bible shows that all the angels and heavenly beings marveled at the incredible thing God was doing. How could it be that Almighty God would become a humble babe? Was this really what God had planned all along? Indeed, this was a wonderful gift, something far beyond what we could have expected.
As if this gift were not enough, what is really amazing is all that gift makes possible. By believing in Jesus, the wonders of heaven itself become available to us. Imagine the wonder to be found in eternity as followers of Jesus learn the immense beauty of God. Imagine every day of eternity being more amazing than the day before.
With this incredible prospect, why would we turn to lesser things to satisfy us? This side of eternity, evil always seems more creative and immediately fun but it ends in depression and a sense of emptiness. Choosing the biblical path seems more boring at first but preserves our wellbeing and creates a better overall life. The old dilemma of passion and patience are in view here. When your passion runs high, you want everything now but burn out quickly. When you have patience, something of real beauty, like a flower or a relationship, has the chance to grow, offering the most beautiful fragrances and senses of enjoyment.
The right path begins with finding wonder in the right things. For those who will stand amazed at Jesus, God Himself, made to be a sacrifice, the joys of heaven await. Jesus is rightly called wonderful for making this available.
I hope you can find a place of worship during this Christmas season. You are most welcome to join us at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge for our Christmas Eve services. We have three services on Sunday, December 23rd at 8:30am, 10:30am, and 12:30pm with a musical presentation and a message reflecting on the theme of "Wonder." We also have two services on Monday, December 24th at 4pm and 6pm that will include a children's program designed to retell the wonderful story of Jesus entering the world. My hope is that a sense of wonder will cut through this dark world for many and rekindle a sense of hope. That's something no Google search will ever give you.