From 1988 to 1993, ABC aired a comedy-drama called The Wonder Years. The successful television series told stories of an adolescent boy coming-of-age and growing up in a suburban middle-class family. The Wonder Years is an appropriate way to describe that time in life because wonder, awe, and astonishment fill the hearts of children. And then comes the adult years. Do you wonder where your wonder went?
A childlike sense of wonder is also important to our walk of faith in Jesus Christ. Worship and wonder, for example, go together like a child's love for peanut butter and jelly. Allow me to explain.
Signs, wonders, and miracles attested Jesus's ministry as well as the ministry of the apostles in the Early Church (Acts 2:22). The word “wonder” speaks of the awe-inspiring aspects of the event. According to my Bible dictionary, “Wonder refers to extraordinary things or events that evoke a sense of astonishment.” A miracle, then, is an astonishing event meant to inspire wonder, worship, and awe. Throughout, the Bible shimmers with wonder.
Look among the nations! Observe! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days you would not believe if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5
Who is like Thee among the gods, O Lord? Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” Exodus 15:11
Many, O Lord God, are the wonders which Thou has done. Psalm 40:5
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his . . . wonders to the sons of men! Psalm 107:8
I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
I could go on to reference the wonder-working power of God in the Bible. For example, one of the names the prophet Isaiah gives to the future Messiah is “Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6). The works of the Holy Spirit in the early church evoked wonder and awe among God’s people (Acts 2:7; 43; 3:11-12; 8:13). And we all know that people often responded to Jesus’s ministry with wide-eyed wonder and astonishment (Matthew 15:31; Luke 2:18; 4:22).
Have you lost your sense of childlike wonder? As we transition from childhood to adulthood, it becomes more difficult for us to believe. A.W. Tozer once said of adults, “We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder.”
As Christian adults, we analyze the Bible and give academic explanations of our faith. We even read the Bible and its miracle stories with familiarity and forget how astonishing the moment was for the people that experienced it at the moment it happened. For example, consider the first Christmas: “And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:18).
Children, on the other hand, don’t know enough not to wonder and believe. That’s why Jesus encouraged childlike faith. He said the kingdom of God belongs to the children (Luke 18:17). A Jewish theologian named Abraham Heschel hit the nail on the head when he said, “We teach children how to measure, how to weigh. We do not teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe.”
How do we regain our sense of wonder and, thus, worship God better? Start with a study of the signs, wonders, and miracles of Jesus in the gospel of John (John 20:24).