Finding Wonder

The wonder of life is tarnished. For most of us, each year it grows a little more dingy, a little lest attractive. Even I have said, “Any day, God. Any day. I certainly won’t complain if you’re ready to call it quits for planet earth.” My heart is in the right place, I think, but the comment certainly expresses a lack of wonder at my current, pleasant surroundings.

The first two tarnished elements of life that Zacharias addresses in his book, Recapture the Wonder, are sexuality and money

The only way to transcend the physical and the sensual while retaining their essential features is to bind them to the sacred. pg. 65

“These days,” sexual encounters are a dime a dozen, or at least that’s what the culture-creators want us to think. Shows like Sex in the City, novels whose only purpose is to portray multiple explicit encounters, each more graphic than the last; the push for free and legal abortions so that no one bears the consequence of illicit sex, the view of sex as mere recreation…we have certainly divorced sex from the spiritual.

Can that explain our boredom with sex? Obviously, the constant trend to make it more and more sensational reveals that what once held wonder in and of itself, is now old news. Is there a limit? When does this chafing for more and dissatisfaction, dissolution with what once was wonderful end?

As for money. We all know, in our heads, that no matter how much we amass it’s never enough – but we certainly don’t live that way. I’m preaching to your’s truly.

The one possessing the wealth must know its real value if the possession is to bring wonder. pg. 70

With that truth in mind, does money really have any value? When I have bought a new pair of shoes, soon they aren’t new anymore. When I drive a new car, soon it loses that smell. When I buy a rich, expensive cup of coffee, soon it’s empty. When I pursue higher education, I discover there is still one more learned and therefore higher paid and then ultimately the wonderfulness promised by dollars is moot all over again. Do you see what I mean?

So what’s the solution? Where is the balance between enjoying temporal things and investing eternally in them? One thing I believe is true: the potential for joy in wonder is greater than ever, for sometimes it takes losing something to realize its true value. Let’s Recapture the Wonder together.

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Can’t Handle The Wonder

I went to the theatre

With the author of a successful play.

He insisted on explaining everything.

Told me what to watch,

The details of direction,

The errors of the property man,

The foibles of the star.

He anticipated all my surprises

And ruined the evening.

Never again! – And mark you,

The greatest Author of all

Made no such mistake.

[quoted by Zacharias on pages 46-47 of Recapture the Wonder]

As a pro-life, creationist who believes in a world-wide flood and Noah’s ark; as a woman who defends the inherency of the Bible, the virgin birth and Christ’s literal resurrection – I admit on more than one occasion I have wished that He would spoil the story. It would be so much easier to defend my faith and centuries of Christians could have been spared much persecution, if God would only show up and explain everything.

Wonder can be enhanced when reasoning knows where to draw the line, for the noblest reason is to know God Himself. This is a divine principle carved into the human longing for a story with enchantment. pg. 47

If Adam and Eve had been content to live in the wonder of Eden, blessed with every possible delight and communion with God Himself; denied only the knowledge of the taste of one forbidden fruit – if they had been content with wonder and peace, they would never have been cursed with dangerous knowledge and death.

I am a self-confessed control-freak. I wonder how many times my joy would have been multiplied if I hadn’t insisted on uncovering and altering my own future – the future that God has prepared intimately for me. I get flustered and bent out of shape when I’m interrupted or a day ends without accomplishment – never in wonder at the creative, personal twist God placed in my timeline.

It’s the same as the child who pokes through the wrappings under the Christmas tree. He will be hard pressed to express genuine wonder on Christmas day, as he already knows what’s hidden. Think of all the wonders we daily deprive ourself: we want to know the gender of our children before they’re born (now we want to influence the gender), we want to “add” and “subtract” hours from our days as we switch from daylight savings time and back. We practice plastic surgery – even on our children, so that we can design our own appearance.

I’m not declaring any of the above explicitly wrong, but it’s food for thought. When, why did we decide that we couldn’t handle wonder?

A copy of this book was freely provided by Moody Publishers for this review.

I Wonder…What is Wonder? A Review of “Recapture the Wonder”

We Miss It, But What Is It?

A man far smarter than myself, started Chapter 1 of his book with such a question. Blissfully and quickly engaged in the generous free copy of Recapture the Wonder, that Moody Publishers provided to me for this review, I pawed through the first several pages. Suddenly, I was aware that I hadn’t actually captured any of the message. Though reading the words, even out loud at points, their meaning slipped through the slats in my mind. Slats created by tiny gaps between streams of constant information: schedules, studies, obligations, requisite “fun” time, etc.

Though his prose are heady and intellectual, as I write this post I’m gaining a better understanding of Ravi Zacharias’ message in his new book. Maintaining a sense of wonder in this adult-world is just like my fruitless efforts to grasp Zacharias’ intent and retain it. I’m a very capable reader, I have plenty of light, a comfortable chair – all the tools necessary to read this book thoughtfully and to gain insight. And yet, I finished the first chapter as clueless as I began. What is this?

Can you honestly explain wonder? We miss it, but what is it?

A less educated child, the one I’m watching lift her sleepy head off of the bouncy-chair tray. Glassy blue-gray eyes blink at me, slightly out of focus. She’s unaware of the drool dripping from her chin or the creases in her cheek from resting on top of her toys. But within seconds, still unaware of herself, she sees her mother. And her eyes snap quickly into focus, a contented, pleased, wonderful smile spreads across her face. She knows what wonder is. She is unaware of herself, but she knows what wonder is.

Zacharias shares the story of walking down a busy street with his wife. They bump and jostle past affluence, ignorance, business and all other walks of life. Then, they notice a homeless man, oblivious to anyone watching, digging desperate and hungry through a dumpster. The story ends there, but imagine if someone had tapped that man on the shoulder and offered him a steaming bowl of chicken soup, a sandwich and water, then walked away without demanding reciprocity. That man would display wonder.

I’ve struggled with slow digestion as I read Ravi’s book. I wish I could hear him read it in his rich, mesmerizing Indian accent. Ah well, the written page will afford me many re-reads. And I will need them. So far, I am considering whether intellect and knowledge – especially self-knowledge – are potential enemies of wonder.

What do you think?