Our culture has a peculiar problem. For the first time in the history of the world people have access to more information than they can handle. We are constantly exposed to new messages from television to text to radio. It is what scholars call over–exposure and it is literally changing our brains. It has been well documented that because of the inundation of information, we read less, our attention spans are plummeting, we consume more, and we no longer need to ponder anything because, well, that is what Google is for! I am not saying that this is worse than generations before us, and I am certainly not saying that I am unaffected (I tweet just as much as everyone else).
Yet, it needs to be noted that it is much harder to get lost in a story and sit in awestruck wonder of something beautiful. This scares me, because wonder is biblical and a proper response to God. As the psalmist says,
“Let all the earth fear the LORD:
let all the inhabitants of the world
stand in awe of him!
For he spoke and it came to be;
He commanded, and it stood firm”
Not only is awestruck wonder an appropriate reaction to God, it is an instinctual reaction to ignorance. We don’t know how God just speaks and new material is created. That is hard to grasp. Samuel Johnson addressed this in 1751;
“That wonder is the effect of ignorance, has been often observed. The awful stillness of attention, with which the mind is overspread at the first view of an unexpected effect, ceases when we have leisure to disentangle complications and investigate causes. Wonder is a pause of reason, a sudden cessation of the mental progress, which lasts only while the understanding is fixed upon some single idea, and is at an end when it recovers force enough to divide the object into its parts, or mark the intermediate gradations from the first agent to the last consequence.” (essay, Rambler 137, italics added)
How rare this is today! Johnson says that we need to be captivated by something and have the time to sit and ponder it to truly comprehend it.
As to how this relates to God’s Story, it’s simple really. If we are to grasp the beauty, excitement, and reality of the gospel story, we must set aside time to read about it, think about and talk about it. God captivates us in moments of wonder. I was saved in a moment of pure wonder, and throughout history, God’s people have looked upon our magnificent gospel with awestruck wonder. Today, take the time to do the same. God’s Story does not disappoint.