When my family and I moved to Tennessee from New Mexico, wildlife sightings were a new thing for us. We were used to seeing tumbleweeds blow across the road, so seeing a family of deer or some turkey (in the road, not on my plate) was a new sight. We would stop the car, admire the deer and see how many we could count. Over time however, the newness has worn off. The deer sightings have lost the “wow” that they used to have, and seeing wildlife is rarely a reason to stop any more.
Losing the “awe” is a normal occurrence with wildlife, but it’s a dangerous potential when it comes to spiritual life.
Mark 3 records one of those scenes, and it always alarms me. Jesus walks into the synagogue on a Sabbath (a day on which the religious leaders said it was against the ceremonial law to heal), and a man with a deformed hand is there. The text says that “they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.” The man became their bait so that they could accuse Jesus of something they thought was wrong. And that’s exactly what they did. Just a few verses later, Jesus does the impossible, and the man’s hand is completely restored. Without a word of praise or celebration, the religious leaders unite with their enemies in a plot to destroy Jesus. Here are a few thoughts on how we can fight against losing the “awe” as we witness God’s awesome works…
Throughout the Bible, God told His people to build monuments to fight against their forgetfulness. When God showed up or did something miraculous, God wanted to make sure they wouldn’t forget. Our past victories are vital to our future success. Write it, blog it, tweet it, journal it, or sing it, but don’t forget it! Forgetting God’s faithfulness will make you lose the “awe” of what He has done.
Thankfulness goes a long way, but it’s not easy, and it’s not natural. Since it’s not natural, it’s something God has commanded us to do. In fact, being thankful is 1 of only 3 times in the Bible that specifically says, “This is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude for what God has done and is doing will increase your “awe” toward God’s provision.
Maybe what has happened is that we’ve forgotten the depth of what we’re witnessing. For instance, at church, when we see someone put their faith in Jesus, that’s far deeper than a simple prayer they just prayed. According to the Bible, their sins are forgiven and their eternal destination has changed! If there is joy in the presence of the angels because one sinner repented (Luke 15), then there’s definitely reason for us to rejoice!
Whatever your circumstances are, it may do you a lot of good to sit down and think through God’s faithfulness and the detail and lavishness of His provision. If things aren’t good right now, take some time to search for God in the small details of your life.
God and His works are awesome – the Bible says that over and over. However, the more you encounter something, the more prone you are to let it lose its “awe.” Fight against it. You can’t afford not to.