The Loss of Wonder

Very little fills us with wonder any more.

We pursue thrills, excitement, laughter, comfort, and “good times”—but not wonder. Movie theaters, video clips, electronic gaming, sporting events, food, and vacation-getaways may absorb our attention but they rarely produce authentic or lasting wonder. They distract us but fail to enrich us.

Work generally diminishes wonder.

Wonder makes us aware of our smallness and God’s greatness. It leaves us breathless and speechless but for a soft “Yes” or “Wow” that we utter to God. It brings the soul to the surface and leaves us humble and grateful. It makes us better.

Jacob Needleman observed the launch of Apollo 17 in 1975 and later wrote:

“It was a night launch, and there were hundreds of cynical reporters all over the lawn, drinking beer, wisecracking, and waiting for this 35-story-high rocket [to lift off].

“The countdown came, and then the launch. The first thing you see is this extraordinary orange light, which is just at the limit of what you can bear to look at. Everything is illuminated with this light. Then comes this thing slowly rising up in total silence, because it takes a few seconds for the sound to come across. You hear a ‘WHOOOOOOSH! HHHH-MMM!’ It enters right into you.

“You can practically hear jaws dropping. The sense of wonder fills everyone in the whole place, as this thing goes up and up. The first stage ignites this beautiful blue flame. It becomes like a star, but you realize there are humans on it. And then there’s total silence.

“People just get up quietly, helping each other. They’re kind. They open doors. They look at one another, speaking quietly and interestedly. These were suddenly moral people because the sense of wonder, the experience of wonder, had made them moral.”

The loss of wonder hardens our spiritual arteries. When our hearts no longer leap at the glory of a newborn or the majesty of a sunset; when the beauty of a petal or the enormity of a mountain fails to stir us; when nothing moves us to godly awe and silence, we live on the brink of death—whatever our circumstances.

“I will tell of all Your wonders;
I will be glad and rejoice in You.”  (Psalm 9:1-2)

May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit touch us again with wonder.

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2 Responses to The Loss of Wonder

  1. Judi Murdoch says:

    What a profound statement David. The less ‘wonder’ we see (even though our lives are steeped in it) the less we praise God. The less we praise God the more we elevate Self. The more we elevate Self… It’s a slippery slope indeed!
    We pray for ears to hear and eyes to see, just as Jesus taught. He meant to be open to the spiritual side of life of course, but it’s in seeing God’s magnificent work in the physical sense that lures us to the spiritual side. Or should, at any rate.
    I’m taking a long drive across the mountains to the coast later this week. Although it’s a significant step in my life and I have much on my mind, I’ll be sure not to overlook the plentiful opportunities to be in awe of His majestic beauty surrounding me.

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