We Find it Hard to Believe
The older we get, the more it takes to fill us with wonder.
This is because it becomes increasingly difficult for us to believe in wonder-full things. Believing is easy for the heart that can hope anything is possible. But when certain possibilities have been chased away and certain glimmers doused, faith suddenly has to be worked at, and belief has to be practiced, and hope has to be memorized. Where do you go to practice something so sacred? To the brightest, most brilliant, spot of light you can find. Darkness might keep your failed attempts hidden, but it will also keep you always bumping into things you can’t see.
We are Unlovely
The Church welcomes, “all those who are weary . . .” (Matthew 11.28). Wonder at that. We are never lovely people when we come in those doors. Instead, we are weary and as unlovable as we could possibly be. We are like a child who has stayed up long past his bedtime for the entire week, or month, or life, and now we are cranky and we bring our crankiness with us. Don’t worry about that, though, because we all bring it. Even the ones who smile the biggest. Even the ones who will not sing in harmony. Even the ones who wrestle with riotous toddlers. Even the ones who spilled their coffee on the way here. We are all cranky and weak, and we are all deep-down afraid of being forgotten. But don’t worry. He is going to feed all of us, hungry ones, and He will not get tired of doing it. He sees loveliness when He looks at us, not because we are lovely, but because He is. The longer we are in His house, the more our faces will shine with the glee of it.
Shabby & Incredible
The longer we are in His house, we will also realize how shabby we are on our own. “Walls fall down, where there’s a peaceful sound, lonely souls hang around/ Don’t be shy, there’s nothing left to hide, come on let’s talk for a while, ” (Josh Garrels, Bread and Wine). Life would have been terribly simple if God had stopped with Adam, but what a cold life it would have been. Instead, we are created to soak up fellowship. We are created to love, and to struggle with, and to discover, the deepest cries of the hearts around us. Wonder at this, as well. Don’t cut yourself away from His home; there your soul does not get to be lonely anymore and you are surrounded with worshipping people who are all just as shabby and incredible as you are. Look for the richness in every brother and every sister, as all of our voices chase each other up in songs, as prayers gush out and calm comes in.
True church fellowship means our walls have to come down and whatever is behind them gets to be seen; everything we are most ashamed of, dragged flailing out into the light. “What we hunger for, perhaps more than anything else, is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else” (Frederick Buechner). We are all afraid of being truly known, because we all hide things. We all hunger to be truly known because staying hidden saps the life out of you. But God loves paradoxes and in His house, we can somehow be fully known and fully loved both at the same marvelous time. “He moved through the days in peace and wonder,” writes author and musician, Andrew Peterson, “for his whole story had been told for the first time, and he found that he was still loved.” There is no wonder more wonderful than this. We are infinitely, ridiculously loved, not just as we appear, but as we know we are. And that is the good news of the Gospel.
Where Light is Born
So come. And bring your best. Your best, though, never has to be grand. Bring a smile. Bring a hope. Bring a vulnerable soul. Sacrilege is giving something to God when it means absolutely nothing to you (Ravi Zacharias). So make sure it means the world to you and then right away open your hand and let Him take it. There will be a moment of panic, a moment when your mouth cannot find the air, but just when every last whisper of breath is gone, you’ll reach the surface and He will let you gasp your lungs full again, and air will never have tasted so sweet. He can speak light from nothing and light into you. The Church is where that light is born. It is where we learn to love living while we struggle to survive. Don’t come nonchalantly. Come headlong, rushing into the holiness. This place is full of wonder.
Have you been delighted by wonder and grace? Tell us about it in the comments.