“God himself works in our souls, in their deepest depths, taking increasing control as we are progressively willing to be prepared for his wonder.” Thomas Kelly
Speaking of “wonder,” I wonder a lot––mostly about God. I used to wonder if he existed, but since I got that settled to my complete satisfaction forty-five years ago, my wonder is now of a different sort.
“Wonder” itself has a number of connotations. There’s the wonder that involves frustration, another is more of a curious sort, and then there’s the kind that connotes unreserved marvel. My wondering about God includes all three at different times.
Sometimes my wonder about him looks more like frustration than anything else. It happens sometimes when he acts in a way I don’t understand or don’t particularly appreciate in the immediate. I wonder about what’s going on in his head. I usually sort out the frustration after a while, but even when I don’t, I shelve it for the time being and try to keep trusting him in spite of how I feel.
At other times my wondering is more of a spiritual inquisitiveness. I’ve been known to be irksomely curious about God’s Word and his ways. I wonder what a certain passage of the Bible means or I’m curious about an action he took or decided not to take. I realize I should never underestimate my proclivity to be wrong about the ways of God and wouldn’t be too shocked to enter the eternal state only to spend at least the first thousand years or so modifying my theology.
The last sense in which I wonder about God has to do with how much he blows my mind! What a “Wonder” he is––infinitely beyond our grasp––whose path we cannot trace and whose mind we can never completely know! (Romans 11:33-34)
When I think about it, this last type of wonder might not be so different from the other two, and might, actually, include them both. Frustration, curiosity, and marvel are not necessarily natural enemies, at least not in matters of faith. Passionate, mature, and faithful Christians wonder in all three senses, maybe not always at the same time.
Bottom-line––he’s pretty “wonderful”––which is an ironic term when you think about it, since we’re the ones that are full of wonder.
“God is a Person,” wrote A.W. Tozer, “and can be known in increasing degrees of intimate acquaintance as we prepare our hearts for the wonder.” It’s this “increasing degrees of intimate acquaintance” for which we might consider re-upping if we do indeed deem wonder as something worthy.
It’s a superficial spirituality that has everything nailed down tight and has no room for wonder. Wonder is a necessary component to the deeper walk with Jesus that we’ve been talking about in this series of posts. Without it we’re stuck at whatever inadequate depth of revelation in which we currently reside. Many Christians suffer from a sort of spiritual agoraphobia. Whether it’s fear or apathy, they don’t venture out of their spiritually safe zone very much. They’ve lost or never had much of a wonder about what God has in store for them around the next corner.
Remember when Jesus told Peter at the foot washing? “You don’t realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7)
I suppose that part of the reason Peter had to wait till later was because then he’d be older and wiser. Then again, “older” doesn’t always equate to “wiser.” In fact, as time goes by, some people become less and less susceptible to the wisdom that comes from an increasing revelation of the Spirit. I guess they assume that since they’ve been in the faith for so long they’ve seen pretty much all there is to see, and all they’re trying to do now is not lose the ground they’ve already gained. Having lost the spirit of wonder, their default is more of a defensive, protectionist posture.
Maybe the “later” for Peter had to do with after Jesus’ resurrection and then the Spirit’s arrival at Pentecost. It’s true that the resurrection would open up a lot of things for Peter and the Spirit, who was to come, would reveal tons of truth and usher him into a whole new world of kingdom advance.
Even so, I think there was something more to Jesus’ “later.” Maybe it had something to do with Peter’s––and our––self-generated cement-hard certainty about how God is supposed to always act. It often takes time to unlearn what we think we already know about God and his ways. That may be the “later” that Peter needed in order to understand a foot-washing, as opposed to a sword-yielding, Roman-slaying, Messiah. Maybe it took him some time to develop the wonder necessary to “get” Jesus, and to get him more and more as he progressively revealed himself.
It’s the wonderers who seem to never stop burrowing deeper into the Almighty.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.
- In Part 1 “He’s Not Here” we looked at how easy it is to forget what Jesus says, especially when we didn’t hear or want to hear it in the first place.
- In Part 2 “Who Is That Masked Man?” we reviewed the first prerequisite for deeper revelation is that we actually want it.
- In Part 3 “Half Seeing” we talked about the inadequacy of a one-touch salvation.
- In Part 4 “Too Deep To Cross” we mused about reveling in the River of God too deep to fathom.
- In Part 5 “How Deep is Your Deep?” we discussed the differences between being a “soulish” Christian and a “spiritual” one.
- In Part 6 “Releasing Our Attachment to the Familiar” we talked about how what we already know and have experienced in God sometimes gets in the way of what we could know and experience.
- In Part 7 “Widening our Doctrinal Definitions” I suggested that we revisit the things we believe and ask ourselves if we love our beliefs about God more than we love God.