This morning, I was taking some time alone at a nearby park, sitting under a shade tree beside the lake, with a nice cool breeze and the sounds of kids playing soccer and birds chirping nearby. And as I sat there, in the shade of the tree, having just read a passage from Isaiah and watching a father and a son trying to catch some fish, I got to thinking about God and his power and greatness and our short lives here on earth and how much awe and wonder we should have for his awesomness. I was really struck about the great degree to which I feel that many of us in America have lost our sense of wonder; not entirely, but in the grind of our hectic lifestyles, I think so. Have we become too sunk in a consumer culture of convenience and technology?
Jesus said that in order to enter into the kingdom of God, we must become like little children, and it seems to me that a big part of the makeup of little kids is their sense of wonder, awe and wide-eyed faith. I listened to a great talk recently given by author Donald Miller about how God fathers us and Don (we're on a first name basis) discussed this idea as well. He told a story about a time in his life when he was living with a friend and his friend's family, and I think it really captures some of the essence of what it means to be one of God's kids. Here's my unjust paraphrasing of his story:
I was going to bed one night about midnight and John, who is a landscape photographer, says to me, "You wanna go with me over to central Oregon. I'm going to try and catch sunrise at Mount Bachelor. "
I say, "Great, is that an invitation?" "Yeah, come, come," John says. So, we drive a couple hours and we're at about 7000 feet, we're above the atmosphere, there are no cars and it's wonderful. John stops car in the middle of the road and puts it in park, gets out and lies down in the middle of the road. It's 4 in the morning, so there isn't any traffice. John says, "Don lay down." So, I lay down in the middle of the road and there they are, billions of stars. We forget how beautiful it is, where we are and how big it is. It looks as if someone took fistfuls of sand and just threw them into the night sky.
I said, "why do you think God did this?" And John said something I'll never forget that i thought was really wonderful. "To dazzle us." God did this to dazzle us. So, we hike up to Mt. Bachelor just before the sun rises and all of a sudden the color starts coming into the sky and its a phenomenal scene. John's taking lots of shots, not sure when the color will climax and we then spent the afternoon hiking around and watched sunset as well. It was just a beautiful day of God dazzling us.
And at the end of the day, John said to me, "you know, when I was a kid, I used to be amazed at how water flowed in rivers and underneath bridges and such. I loved it. And then I grew up and I forgot. But now I've got my son Chris and he loves rivers and playing in them and watching the water flow and because he enjoys it, I can enjoy it through him." I think that's how God is when we look up at the stars or at the sunrise and we are amazed and he says, "I love it when you love it."
It's great to be a kid. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to grow up :)
On another note, you may or may not have noticed, but I've added a few extra levers and pulleys to this blog to try and give a more rounded view of who Jonathan King is and what I enjoy. On the sidebar, you'll find: my Flickr photos (I wish I could link my Kodak photos page, there are a ton more there!), my current month's and previous month's prayer letters and a world map that pinpoints the locations of all the viewers of my blog.