The Gift of Wonder
As I walked through a mountain valley near my home in the early morning hours today, I was overcome with a sense of wonder at the scope of the scenery that surrounded me; so much so that I began to wonder about wonder. How does one measure wonder? From where does wonder come? Can it be diagramed on the blackboard? Can its intricacies be discovered in a test tube? From where do the feelings come that rise up in the heart and almost choke you of your breath and bring tears to your eyes? Have you ever wondered about wonder?
You might think I am a bit silly for wandering down this path and maybe I am but wonder is one of God’s gifts to us. Like the phenomenon of falling in love it is one of those things that is hard to get a grip on. As I was pondering the subject of wonder I began to ask myself if this was something addressed in the scriptures. So, I returned to my office and began to search.
First, I went to the dictionary looking for a definition of wonder. In Webster’s 1828 edition, wonder is described as, “that emotion, which is excited by something new, unusual, great, extraordinary; something that arrests the attention by its grandeur or inexplicableness. Wonder in this sense only appears a couple of times in scripture. The Hebrew word “tamahh” is translated as wonder in the Old Testament, it means, to be amazed, to be astonished, to be astounded, to be stunned. The Greek word “thambos” is translated wonder in the New Testament, and it means, amazement and astonishment.
What is filling your heart with wonder today? I remember when my two-year-old grandson discovered bugs. We would be walking along, and the sight of a bug would stop him in his tracks. There is no way to measure the wonder that filled his face as he leaned over to closely examine a bug. As we would walk together, he would point out to me trees, birds, bugs, dogs, and cats, as if he had seen them for the first time. I need a two-year-old in my life, for God preaches to me through them. He reminds me how easy it is for things to become mundane or common place or boring, things that once caused my heart to overflow with wonder.
From the word wonder we get the word wonderful or full of wonder. A hymn from my youth comes to mind today, it was titled Wonderful Grace of Jesus. “Wonderful grace of Jesus greater than all my sin; how shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin? Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free, for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.” The chorus goes on to say, “Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, deeper than the mighty rolling sea; higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, all sufficient grace for even me; broader than the scope of my transgressions, greater far than all my sin and shame; O magnify the precious name of Jesus, Praise His Name!”
What fills you with wonder today?