Living in Awe

Hi there!

Hope everyone’s had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I could offer a variety of excuses as to why I’ve been absent from the blogosphere as of late, but not one would suffice for my not doing what I said I would do. I haven’t been posting twice a week, and that is wrong of me. Life is busy and messy, but even that doesn’t warrant my not keeping my word. I do apologize.

If you are willing to move forward with me in our attempts to both contemplate life and make sense of, well, mankind, I would like to speak with you about something I’ve read for…you guessed it: theology. It’s not too heavy a subject today though, so stick with me and maybe we’ll learn to see things in a slightly simpler manner.

Let’s get cracking. So, to give a frame of reference for what I’ll be talking about, I should tell you that it is a shame how the modern world–specifically American culture–is so bent on stripping life of its mysteries. We have become so focused on finding out why the sky is blue that we neglect to notice it’s beauty. TV programs like How It’s Made concern themselves with explaining away how things have become as they are, and our desire to know has overwhelmed the importance of experience.

This is not to say that we should choose to ignore important issues. Ignorance is not bliss, but there is something to be said about appreciating the impossibility of understanding everything.

In Can Man Live Without God?, Ravi Zacharias’ argues for the childhood sense of wonderment that the modern world seems to have lost. The book is an apologetic for the Christian Faith against western atheism, and offers a logical, aesthetic, and relational defense of Christianity. Even so, Zacharias notes the importance of stepping away from our tendency to prove and know everything about all there is to know.

There is something precious and pure in appreciating that the seasons change, that the sea does not envelop the shore. It’s okay to ask questions, in fact I would encourage it. But if you don’t find the answer you’re searching for, don’t be so eager to deny the subject its significance. Rather, try to appreciate its intrigue.

Zacharias uses the image of a child staring in awe at his balloon that floats up to the ceiling, waiting to be pulled back down. The child is so fascinated by the balloon, that he reaches for and releases the balloon countless times with much excitement. The author says that God says to the seasons “again!” and to the sun “again!” Our Creator has created this world for us to admire so that it would augment our admiration for Him.

It’s okay to delight in that creation, for we are God’s creation, and He delights in us. Enjoy the intricacies of this life without always demanding an answer as to why they are that way.

You could walk onto your front lawn this winter and say that you see “atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals and falling in lightwhite flakes or lying on the ground as a white layer,”* but isn’t it a little more magical to catch it on your tongue and call it “snow?”

May all be well.

*Definition from Dictionary on Mac computers

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4 thoughts on “Living in Awe

  1. Finally!!! I love this. I was so excited to read your latest blog…God’s creation is so fascinating, thank you for reminding us it’s okay to not always have the answers!

    • YES! We all need to –if I may use an old cliche–“stop and smell the roses”. Some of my most meaningful worship experiences have been in response to the beauty and wonder of nature. Thanks, Sarah–it was worth waiting for (excuse the dangling preposition at the end of a sentence! lol)

  2. “Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars – mere globs of gas atoms. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination – stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one – million – year – old light. A vast pattern, of which I am part… What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”

    – Richard P. Feynman

    For some of us, the knowing IS the experience. Just a little different perspective to add to the conversation.

    • Mat, I’m so glad you posted this! I completely agree with you; knowing how things work really can make experiences all the more meaningful and deep in intellectual, emotional, and even spiritual ways. My only suggestion to readers is that if they can’t know the answer for sure, don’t discount the experience altogether. I understand that science and beauty oftentimes go hand in hand, but I would also say that when the desire to “know” completely overwhelms our ability to “experience,” we might in the process devalue what it is we’re looking at in the first place. These are just my thoughts, but I do appreciate as well that science can enhance our experiences and even further open our eyes to the world around us. Thanks again!

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