In “A Struggle in Loneliness Understood (part 1)” I ended with the claim that only God can forever capture our sense of wonder and amazement. I want to pursue that line of thought in this present post.
I remember years ago hearing author and speaker Ravi Zacharias state that at every developmental level of life it takes more and more to capture our sense of wonder, and that only wonder found in God cannot be exhausted. For example, let’s say you walk up to a small child of 3 years old and say:
“One day I was walking in the dark woods…”
Already you have captured the boy’s attention and sense of wonder. But if you say that to a boy of 13 his sense of wonder is not going to be captured so easily. He needs more. So to the 13 year old you say:
“One day I was walking in the dark woods… and I found a hidden door in the side of a mountain…”
With the added statement of a “hidden door” you have now captured the wonder of the 13 year old boy and his attention and intrinsic hunger to be amazed has been activated. But what about a boy of 17 years on the cusp of adulthood? He frankly needs more. So you say:
“One day I was walking in the dark woods…and I found a hidden door in the side of a mountain… and when I opened it a BENGAL TIGER JUMPED OUT!”
With the added statement of a Bengal tiger you have succeeded in arresting the wonder of the 17 year old. And on and on it goes in various forms of life—as we grow older it takes more and more to amaze us and capture our sense of wonder.
Every toy, every hobby, every sport, every book, every movie, every career, every relationship–even the starry eyed beauty of a new girlfriend or wife eventually runs its course and ceases to capture our sense of amazement and wonder. Our eyes and heart begin to wander and we find ourselves almost unconsciously looking for the next thing, the next distraction or the new fresh face. Ultimately familiarity begins to breed boredom, discontentment—and sometimes contempt.
This is the human condition. We crave new experiences and fresh encounters with life, wonder and beauty to meet our insatiable desire to be amazed. This is not necessarily a bad thing. When we settle in life and never again bother to climb the crest of a new hill to get a better look at a radiant sunset—part of our soul begins to die.
On one hand I believe God created our souls to seek out and yearn for greater and fuller experiences in life. But on the other hand I believe only God can fully meet the need of the human soul to be challenged with something new. Only God can satisfy a growing need to encounter wonder–through all of life’s developmental stages.
At this point, maybe you are thinking: “But I get bored with God! I don’t find my relationship with God to be a constant and continual experience of wonder and amazement.”
I too can relate…a lot.
I remember when I was a teenager I often heard preachers say, “Is your soul hungry and thirsty? Come to Jesus and he will quench that thirst and forever satisfy you.” After all this is biblical isn’t it? For didn’t Jesus say:
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37-38).
And didn’t Jesus also say:
“Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mt. 5:6).
I use to think, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus. I want to live righteously. If Jesus promises to satisfy our hunger and thirst, why is my soul still hungering and thirsting? Why do I still get discontent, apathetic—bored? I thought God was supposed to quench all that?”
Now that I am older…and hopefully wiser… I have come to realize that such verses are telling us that only God can meet and satisfy a soul’s increasing thirst and increasing hunger to be amazed and filled. In other words life in Christ is meant to be, indeed designed to be a life marked by progression and growth—not something fixed, static and settled.
In that sense only God can meet our desire to go on to new levels, new depths and discover something new. Only in God do we have something of life we can return to again and again… and still find an un-exhaustible source of wonder yet to be explored and discovered.
The problem is when we “settle” at a certain plateau in our relationship with God—does he become boring. We are meant to climb higher and higher and discover that there is no summit to God. The conquest is ongoing and will last into eternity.
Ultimately the opportunity and the ability to behold God and engage him fully in all his wondrous glory will be in the age to come when God fashions “a new heaven and a new earth” and merges them together for eternity. Indeed we must wait for the eternal age to come to fully encounter God in such a way that we can never exhaust whom God is, nor plumb the depths of His love for us. I believe in the age to come God will purposely subject himself to an unveiled, relational dynamic of discovery that will continually reveal new dimensions of life to be found in Him alone.
Do we have to wait for heaven to begin such a relational dynamic with God? Do we have to wait for heaven before we can begin to taste and experience the infinite depths of a God who can never be exhausted and whose very existence results in new horizons to capture our wonder and amazement?
Not in the least.