In December 1991, Sally and I were standing in the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, relaxing after a three month teaching tour. The midsummer night was still, and perfectly clear as we gazed up at the incredible starlit sky.
The Milky Way looked like a cosmic bridal veil shimmering across the sky. We were filled with wonder. “O Lord, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.” (Psalm8:1)
Moments of wonder often take us by surprise. They have the power to take us out of ourselves, and beyond ourselves and our limited understanding. Whether it is the vastness of the universe, or the beautiful complex delicacy of a dragon fly’s wings, we are stopped in our tracks and for a precious few moments nothing else is important.
But wonder also raises profound questions. As we look at the heavens we wonder “where does it end… and, if it does, what is beyond it!?” A beautiful flower or insect in our hand can bring us face to face with questions about how they evolved and why we are so moved by them.
Isaiah prophesied about a child who would be called “wonderful” A great word at the start of a great passage (Isaiah 9:1-7). The child to be born, would indeed be wonderful…full of wonder….filling us with wonder,…stopping us in our tracks and taking us beyond ourselves.
There will always be questions which no one can answer absolutely. But there is something we can do…Like Sally and I on that momentous evening in New Zealand, we can be still and gaze in silence and awe, and experience the infinite love, power and beauty of God who created all things. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Perhaps that’s true wonder.