"Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and He gave it to me." - Abraham Joshua Heschel
Yesterday I dropped off my seven-year-old son Jacob at camp. It's his first sleepaway camp experience--just a half a week this time.
To say that he was excited about the prospect of going to camp was perhaps the understatement of all understatements. He filled the car with chatter about what he was hoping.
"Do you think I'll make some friends at camp? I would really like to make some friends."
"Will we go swimming in the river? I hope we can. How do you swim in a river?"
"I hope I get to use my sleeping bag on a campout. That would be cool."
When we arrived at his cabin and were setting up his bunk, he climbed up and down it like a monkey, exclaiming how awesome it was. One of the kids in the cabin mentioned that he had brought his Bible.
"Did we bring my Bible, Dad?" Jacob asked. I told him we did and pulled it out of his bag for him. When I left him, he was perched on his bunk with his Bible, thumbing through it just like his bunkmate.
As I was driving away, I couldn't help but get a little misty about the joy that he felt.
He was filled with wonder at everything he was experiencing. His eyes had been so wide when we drove through the camp. He exclaimed over his cabin as if it was a five-star hotel. Even the bunk beds were a marvel to him. His Bible was a thing of beauty.
I have come to believe that perhaps the most devastating thing that has happened to Christianity over the past sixty years is that far too many Christians have lost their sense of wonder.
We have reduced the adventure of following Jesus down to a boring shuffle that is constituted of nothing more than steps, checklists, rules, doctrines, and dogmas. Mystery has been traded for certainty. Apologetics has replaced storytelling.
We've lost our ability to experience God all around us through the eyes of childlike faith and hope.
In his incredible book The Ragamuffin Gospel, the late Brennan Manning wrote:
The gospel of grace is brutally devalued when Christians maintain that the transcendent God can only be properly honored and respected by denying the goodness and the truth and the beauty of the things of this world.
May you seek today and every day forward to rediscover your childlike wonder of our transcendent God, and may you experience this God in all that is good, true and beautiful in the world around you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.