All who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. (Luke 2:18 ESV)
I encounter far too many believers who have, for a variety of reasons, lost a sense of wonder in their walk with Christ. The shepherds preached the simple message of the Gospel, and “all who heard it wondered.” We should keep that sense of wonder every step of the way into the Celestial City. It is my prayer that these few words will encourage you today to do just that.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us of the many names of our God; one of them is Wonderful Counselor. Our God is Wonderful, and the witness of wonder must be our daily experience, because holy wonder leads to heartfelt worship. Should we not be in a state of perpetual wonder? God came after rebels on the run—our first parents, who willfully disobeyed His one prohibition in the Garden—to bless them and not to destroy them. Instead of casting them into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and starting all over with a new “first couple,” God cared for them. And if that isn’t enough to keep us in a state of wonder, God the Father sent His beloved Son to pay the penalty for our sins, so that you and I would be brought back into right relationship with Him. Surely this is the wonder of wonders!
I am convinced that wonder wanes when we shift our focus away from Christ and put it on our circumstances. Our thoughts become trapped in the temporal and the earthly, and we miss out on the wonder of the eternal and the heavenly. When this happens, we must journey back to Golgotha, where our Lord hung on a cross and died in our place. The Lord Jesus Christ chose to be forsaken by His Father so that you and I would never experience utter and eternal damnation. And now God says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). What unimaginable wonder is this, that our God has pledged His fidelity to us for all eternity?
A holy wonder that leads to heartfelt worship will ultimately lend itself to hopeful watching. This will keep us looking up, rather than out and in. When we are looking up at Jesus, we will sense His presence so thickly wherever we go that we may well wonder why we have not taken off our shoes, since we are standing on holy ground. We will cry out with the psalmist, “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us” (Psalm 40:5). The witness of our wonder should never wane when we look back at all God has done for us and look ahead to all God has promised yet to do.
So . . . how would you rate the witness of your holy wonder? If you find it to be a bit less than what it should be, you need only shift your focus away from your circumstances and center it on Christ. If you pause long enough right now, you may even feel the scars on those hands that hold you tightly and will never let you go.
Oh, the wonder of it all!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!