Graham Cooke, one of my favorite founts of profound inspiration, says this about WONDER:
“Being a great father is high on God’s agenda. He longs to father us into deeper places in the Spirit. We can partner with God in this process of fatherhood, by becoming child-like. In fact, becoming child-like is the only way we can grow in Christian maturity!
Being childlike isn’t a matter of regressing into a lower place in the natural. It’s actually about advancing into a greater place of life in the Spirit. Our innocence and purity must be recovered for us to live as children in the Father’s house. The Kingdom of God belongs to those who can develop and maintain A CHILD-LIKE SENSE OF WONDER!”
(“Living in Dependency and Wonder; The Journey of Discovering the Depths of God’s Love For You”)
Remember “The Shack?!” (You don’t?? READ. IT.) Wm. Paul Young has written 2 more books (“Cross Roads” and “Eve”) – but none (in my opinion) as life-changing as his debut. (Though they are great reads!) In his latest book called “Eve” he speaks of God’s arch-enemy, the devil, formerly being one of heaven’s greats – a Cherubim, like Michael and Gabriel, who surround God’s throne. He makes a little statement that got me pondering: Lucifer (satan’s former name) was in charge of ‘worship and AWE.’ The Cherubim, who surround God’s very throne cry, over-whelmed, over and over “HOLY!!!” because God is SO AWESOME. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Our enemy whose M.O. is to steal, kill and destroy… HATES AWE!!! Which is another word for WONDER. Of course he does. He is green with envy for the constant sense of awe and wonder that he has lost through his rebellion. Why else would he so be out to destroy it in our lives!?! Especially in children’s lives!
A sense of WONDER lives in every child. It’s why we like to be around them so much. (And if you don’t, you’ve lost your ‘wonder’ for SURE.) Let a little child play and express in the middle of a room of adults – and every last one of them will stare at him or her like the flames of a campfire. We are ‘mesmerized’ by child-like wonder. Innocence. Purity. Open-hearted vulnerability. Wide-eyed fully-present engagement with life as an adventure to be experienced.
Whats happened to our WONDER?
Some years ago, I was leading a small group of women through a study of John Eldrege’s book, “THE SACRED ROMANCE.” (A very good read as well!) I remember John bringing up the subject of childhood WONDER…. calling our experience of it “a wooing to a great romance.” As an exercise, he asked us to write out one of our favorite childhood memories… with as much sight, sound, smell and emotion as we could – recapturing as much ‘color’ to our stories as possible (to get in touch with that great ‘wooing’).
My first story was about Christmas. How I loved all the ‘specialness’, ‘celebration, and sparkle! [Still do!!!] The tinsel, the soaring Beverly Shea recording of “What child is this?” (Ha!) and… the PRESENTS. I used to lay on the living room carpet, under our Christmas tree, with the most exquisite feelings .. just staring at the presents, some WITH MY NAME ON THEM! That feeling was WONDER. It was MAGICAL. HEART-IN-MY-EYES EXPECTANTCY. My wise father used to come and join me – adding to my sense of AWE – by laying on his stomach next to me and exclaiming, ‘ I WONDER what’s in there……????’
CHILD-LIKE WONDER. Where did it go?
After life serves up many disappointments, small and large, with a few (or many) traumas thrown in…. we become hardened. Our wounds make us cynical. Unbelieving. No longer open, soft or expecting good. Few of us seem to sustain this all important sense of AWE about life. It is thought of by the sophisticated and logical as naive. Stupid. And many of us feel shame in adult moments when wonder visits us. A perfect picture of this is in one of my favorite disney movies, “THE KID.” Girl friend (Lily Tomlin) is exclaiming about the breathtaking beauty of the moon one eve, and jerk boyfriend (Bruce Willis) responds with cutting cynicism, trying to make her feel really stupid for being so open, child-like, and full of WONDER.
OKAY… I can’t wait to tell you! Wonder has a MOST CURIOUS definition! Literally. Ready? WONDER = DOUBT + CURIOSITY. Think about it.
To be ‘in doubt’ means to be in awe. To feel incredulous. To exclaim, “I can’t believe it!” “Wow, how can this be??” Apparently, every time we experience that kind of moment, we have an opportunity to move towards more WONDER. IF we choose wisely. Whenever we find ourselves doubting, we can make one of two choices…. harden our hearts and move toward cynical unbelief … or open our hearts and choose to be CURIOUS…. I WONDER….. which leads to a totally different outcome. (Run and find your Bible and read Acts 2:12-13 for a vivid example of these two choices, in response to the Holy Spirit’s fresh out-pouring!)
Amazingly, the Greek word for wonder is ‘mopheth’ pronounced ‘mo-faith.’ When we add curiosity to doubt, WONDER leads us to MORE FAITH. Every time.
I WONDER…… Is this what God was restoring to His Israelite children, by serving them up some ‘WHAT IS IT??!!” (manna) every day of their wilderness wander? Maybe because only ‘wonder’ could reverse 400 years of slavery-damage to their expectations?…and possibly prepare them to enter and live in trust and wonder in their Land of Promise?
This is one of our first lessons on Wonder. Why it matters to God. To us. I want to leave you pondering. Wondering…
Will you write out one of your own stories? Think about what it felt like? Ask yourself where that feeling went? And why? And when you find yourself in any moment of ‘doubt’ at present…. make a choice to ADD CURIOSITY? I WONDER….. where could this lead me? What will I find? What could I learn? Is there something You want to show me, Daddy? Here?
Simple stuff opens the door… and we are on our way to recovering our innocence and purity; to living as children in our heavenly Father’s house. The Kingdom of God belongs to those who can develop and maintain A CHILD-LIKE SENSE OF WONDER!”
God bless your WONDERING…. and come back soon for more.