devozine

Spiritual Practice

IN AWE AND WONDER

Craig Mitchell

Our Lord and Ruler,
your name is wonderful everywhere on earth!
You let your glory be seen in the heavens above.

Some moments in time are burned into my memory like the impression after a blinding flash of light . . .

Standing at the end of the hospital bed as my wife gave birth to our twin daughters. Small, fragile, precious miracles of grace. An overwhelming sense of helpless dependence on the goodness of God. Awe, wonder, and tears.

With praises from children and from tiny infants,
you have built a fortress.

Stepping silently among the ancient sentinels at Muir Woods. Giant redwoods stretching from earth to heaven, spanning generation upon generation. People gazing, spellbound, in hushed reverence for creation’s majesty.

Sitting on a beach at midnight on the Australian coast, amazed by the spangled indigo spread above me. Infinite twinkling splendor. The words of Psalm 8 ringing in my soul, offering lifelong allegiance to my Maker.

I often think of the heavens your hands have made,
and of the moon and stars you put in place.
Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans?

Time stands still at moments like these. Seconds stretch into minutes. Experiencing such sheer joy, I forget about myself. The mystery at the heart of Creation is laid bare: God’s beauty, goodness, and power are on display; and I can only marvel, breathless. As a photographer, I love to capture these moments; yet nine times out of ten, the image doesn’t do justice to what my eyes can see.

We can’t manufacture wonder. It can overwhelm us like Niagara Falls or creep upon us like a tiny ladybug. But we can slow down and pay attention to the everyday ecstasy of God’s creation. Breathe deeply. Surrender our plans for a time. Be late. Just wait.

to wonder is
to make time
to watch
to wait
to hold
to hear
to laugh
to cry
to breathe
to sigh

Our Lord and Ruler,
your name is wonderful everywhere on earth!

 

DIG DEEPER

The Psalms are rich with description of God’s world. We cannot see God. Yet God’s fingerprints leave their mark, impressing; God’s voice echoes, ringing; God’s light streams, glowing. Even the imperfections in our world can reveal to us something of who God is.

Yet God is not out to impress us—trying to be the greatest showman, putting on a spectacle for our benefit. God is who God is. Creative. Powerful. Artistic. Gentle. Intricate. Majestic. Good. God delights in creation because it is good. God delights in us! But don’t imagine God sitting in the clouds thinking, Nice sunset! Imagine God alongside you, sharing your joy and awe. For God creates not to impress but to invite—to draw us into a living relationship.

Wonder turns perception into praise and appreciation into adoration. Gratitude recognizes grace. So let wondering become a habit. Cultivate your curiosity in God’s world. With eyes and heart wide open, you can discover that God is giving birth to goodness every day.

Craig Mitchell has been an educator, youth worker, pastor, multimedia author, writer and occasional songwriter. He lives in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. His photos are at www.flickr.com/photos/craigmitchell.

—from devozine (November/December 2018). Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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