finding our wonder

Saturday night I gathered with most of Bicknell for the annual “Freedom Bash”.  Tali and Zach came dripping from the night swim to ask for money for lemon shake ups and funnel cakes. Jim and the guys stood around a tail gate chatting it up. Blankets went on the ground and camping chairs all faced the same direction as we prepared for the capstone event of the evening. The fireworks.

I have always been a fan of fireworks, but frankly on this night, with temps still nearing 100 degrees at 9pm, I wasn’t sure it was worth it. And then they began. Slowly.

One firework at a time. Then a pause. And another one. Then a pause. And another.

Meanwhile the sweat was forming a steady line down the center of my back and I could literally hear my air conditioning [and couch] calling my name.

Leaning toward a friend I said “this is a little lame, isn’t it?”

And at that moment, as they were warming up their engines over on the firing line, sitting in the heat after a long day and longer month, I could think of a dozen things I would rather be doing.

Miss Hadley
Until Hadley toddled up to us on 21 months’ worth of chunky legs and taught me a lesson in wonder.

In her less than two years of experience, these were the best fireworks she had ever seen. Every blast in the sky, regardless of how feeble or small it appeared to my eyes, brought a gasp of utter amazement from her small frame.  She climbed onto her aunt’s lap, oooohing and aaaaaahing and clapping for the fireworks that illuminated her face so that I could see the wonder in her eyes.

This is no ordinary night. This is no ordinary event. Family and friends are gathered, and the sky has become a magic show of sounds and lights.

In that moment, my heart began to stir within me. I joined Hadley in her ooooohing and aaaaaahing. I declared my favorite firework to be the fountain and popcorn varieties [arguing that these were, in fact, better names for them than chandelier or fairy dust fireworks].  And with my eyes opened to the wonder, it really did develop into a spectacular display of lights in the sky. I left impressed with the hard work that went into blessing our little town with such a show. [Well done Freedom Bash committee!]

But more than that, I left thinking about how, all too often, we lose our wonder.  My friend Lauren (I learn a lot from her, don’t I?) is a passionate Bible teacher and more than once as she has recounted a story from the Word she has paused with the challenge "Come on people, can we wonder at that for a moment?! Have we lost our wonder?”

Have you lost your wonder?

When you think about the Lord leading the Israelites out of slavery, parting a sea, making dry land, and then swallowing up their enemeies… are you amazed? Because seriously, that is an amazing story… but it’s not just a tale. It really happened.

Or the manna He caused to fall from Heaven! I mean really!? Wouldn’t you love to try just one little bite of that stuff?

Or when Gideon defeated the Midianites with only 300 men?

Or that a man named Jesus, came in a manger... fully God, fully man… to carry the weight of our sins on a cross. That we may have life and have life abundantly.

Have we lost our wonder? Have we lost the wonder of our salvation? Of the price that was paid so that we can know an eternity in heaven?

I think we have.

Because if our minds really grasped what Christ did for us, what His everything looked like, what His everything works in our lives, then when He called the answer would never be “no”.  The things of this world really would grow strangely dim, with our eyes fixed on Him! We should have so much wonder that nothing else really matters.

Instead, we get all bound up and frustrated because Red Robin no longer brings baskets of fries to your table as appetizers.  [True story, happened yesterday]

Can I get a reality check here? Table 12?

Friends, today I ask that you would find your wonder. That as you walk through this day, you would find awe in every breath. Beauty in every landscape. Miracles in every face.  That your eyes would be like Hadley’s… wide to the wonders of this world, reflecting the Light that dances across your life…

Because when you focus on the wonder, when you focus on the wonder of your own salvation, when you focus on the wonder of your own “Red Sea” moments- when God showed up and brought you through when there appeared to be no way- there will be no room for complaining. No room for leaning toward a friend and mumbling “this is kind of lame, isn’t it?” No room for first world problems like endless fries and sauces only coming with your meal.  

Because you have Jesus. Shouldn’t that be enough to keep joy in your heart? No matter what?

But all too often, it's not enough. All too often I find my eyes wandering to the areas of lack, of less than, of imperfection. I find my heart longing for things He has not called forth in my life. I find frustration in my circumstances... where there should be peace and joy in the place He has called me. 

Look into your circumstances, and find Christ at work right there. At a table at Red Robin, or your desk at work, or your home with little ones always underfoot. Wonder that He would bring you here, for just such a time as this... What are you going to do with this opportunity... with this moment...? You can complain, or you can find the wonder.

The choice is yours.

Father, I am sorry for those times that I have lost my wonder… I am sorry for focusing on my moment instead of your eternity! Bring our eyes back to you, Lord. Bring our eyes back to your beautiful face, and restore our wonder! Restore our sense of awe at the works of your hand, in creation and in our hearts. Father  help us be a people stepping out of darkness, a people walking in your Light, a people full of rejoicing rather than complaints. We love you Lord, we want to know you more!! Thank you for your son Jesus and may we never lose our wonder at the work He did for us on that cross… it’s in His beautiful name we pray… 

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