“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? Job 37:14-16 NIV
I was tapping away at my computer early one evening, having snuck away to look at Facebook, when my eight-year-old daughter, Georgia, burst into the room. It had been a tiring week, with an endless cycle of laundry, dishes, broken sleep, forgotten library books and lunch boxes. I was just looking for a few minutes of uninterrupted, mindless scrolling.
“Mum, mum, you have to see this amazing thing!” she cried.
Georgia has a flare for the dramatic and I had to resist rolling my eyes.
“Can’t you just tell me what the amazing thing is, George?” I asked, without looking up from the computer.
“No, Mum. You have to see it! Come on!”
I sighed and pushed back my chair, assuming I was being led out to look at a cubby made from blankets and furniture; some amazing mess I’d have to clean up later. As you can probably tell, I was in a pretty bad mood.
Georgia, leading me by the hand, took me to the back yard and said, “look up, Mum.”
I looked up.
The sky was awash with vivid shades of red, orange and yellow- the most wonderful sunset I’d ever seen.
“Wow!” I whispered. “Thanks, Georgia.”
I stood and stared at the colours. I felt the grumpiness melt away as my eyes feasted on the spectacular beauty above me.
Georgia went back inside and gathered up the family.
There was a ladder leaning against our house. My husband, Leigh, had been on the roof to fix the air conditioning.
“Let’s get on the roof!” I cried.
The beauty of the sunset had lifted me out of my slump.
Leigh helped the kids as they climbed the ladder for a better view.
“That is amazing!” they cried.
I sat on the roof and watched until all the colours faded. When King David said,“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1 NIV) he was clearly onto something. The sky that night was a true testament to the glory of God, and evidence of his hand in all of creation.
Scientists at the University of Berkley in California have been studying the effect of awe and wonder on our sense of well-being and the way we relate to others. These studies have found that experiencing wonder lifts our mood, help us to heal from pain and grief and also pushes us toward
acts of kindness. They also reveal that the experience of being moved by something bigger than
ourselves, whether it be in the natural world, in art or religion, intrinsically repositions us to respond to the world with acts of compassion. They speak of the evolution of the human species, explaining that this response to awe has helped us as a species to learn to cooperate and assist one another.
I believe it points to a loving creator who knows how to take care of us.
When I stand under the pink and orange sky and I feel the stress and anxiety, the grumpiness and fatigue of the week melting away, I feel my soul connecting with God. When I reach out to the hand of my child to help her onto the roof and she shares in that moment of wonder with me, I know that there is an almighty God who loves us; who wants us to connect, not only with Him but with each other.
They say that great leaders know how to inspire their team. I say that God, the greatest leader of all, built a world for us full of inspiration.
Once Leigh, our friend Anna and I body surfed with a pod of about twelve dolphins. They circled back and rode wave after wave with us. We shrieked with joy and delight as the dolphins leapt through the waves, coming so close to hitting us before darting out the way, as though they were dancing with us and teasing us at the same time. Though it happened over ten years ago, it is a memory that still fills my heart with joy and wonder.
What might you see today that will bring a moment of awe and wonder to your day?
There is potential for them all around us…
Let us be people whose eyes are wide open to the wonder and glory of the creator God- wonder seekers who are restored, filled and loved by a heavenly father who knows what we need.
P.S This idea of ‘awe struck wonder’ is part of the theme ‘Starry Eyed Wonder’ at MOPS Australia this year. If you have children 0-6, and you’ve never heard of MOPS, do yourself a favour and go here to find out more.
[Images by pexels.com & me]