By Lloyd Pulley
Every question today seems to invoke the same answer.
We turn to this powerful search engine often because we want to know the answer. With over five billion searches made a day, finding information through Google has become a normal routine. In a future article, I may unpack the many ways this ubiquitous search engine profiles us, offers biased suggestions, learns what we are susceptible to and, as such, can sway a generation of people socially, religiously, economically and politically. But for now, what about the questions Google can’t answer?
To a child even simple things give a sense of wonder. Do you remember marveling at a shooting star, a beautiful landscape, or grandpa’s silly magic trick? Something changes in us when we learn about how things work. We seem to lose that sense of wonder. We assume knowing how a thing works is equal to the fuller knowledge of its origin and purpose. But life’s answers go far beyond the zeros and ones of our technology.
First off, the drive to know is a God given attribute. According to the Bible, we were made in his image and given dominion over the earth to cultivate, develop, and protect. But this divine capacity through rebellion morphed into a desire to be like God and even replace him. This eventually sparked the judgment of the Great Flood. And the Bible also reflects, as does history, a culture seeking answers sans God has never ended well. In the least it loses its sense of wonder and awe in the Creation.
When we lose our sense of wonder, we have to turn to something. We don’t do uncertainty well! We hate unanswered questions and so we become susceptible to anyone who promises answers. But eventually this leads to disillusionment since as a growing number of young people are deeply dissatisfied with the state of our nation and our world, wondering why the utopia they hoped for delays. Will we stand in wonder of God above us or will we choose to be enamored by false promises of science and technology and a new world?
Wonder is lost. Wonder is that sense you get when you receive something more than you expected. A child will squeal with joy when they open a present beyond what they expected. We sense wonder when something brilliantly beyond the mundane bursts into our field of view. We long to recapture that sense of awe and escape from the dull and depressing I believe since we were made for something greater than ourselves.
This is where we would benefit greatly to turn to the ultimate wonder during this Christmas season and this winter. In describing the birth of Jesus, the Bible shows that all the angels and heavenly beings marveled at the incredible thing God was doing. How could it be that Almighty God would become a humble babe? Was this really what God had planned all along? Indeed, this was a wonderful gift, something far beyond what we could have expected.
Not only is that one gift wonderful, but also the idea of what that gift made possible. Now, by believing in Jesus, the wonders of heaven itself become available to us. Imagine the wonder to be found in eternity as followers of Jesus learn the immense beauty of God. Imagine every day of eternity being more amazing than the day before.
With this incredible prospect, why would we turn to lesser things to satisfy us? This side of eternity, evil always seems more creative and immediately fun, but often ends in depression and a sense of emptiness. Choosing the biblical path seems more boring at first but develops into a sense of well-being and creates a better overall life. The old dilemma of passion and patience are in view here. When your passion runs high, you want everything now but you burn out quickly. When you have patience, something of real beauty, like a flower or a relationship, has the chance to grow, offering the most beautiful fragrances and senses of enjoyment.
The right path begins with finding wonder in the right things. For those who will stand amazed at Jesus, God Himself, made to be a sacrifice, the joys of heaven await. Jesus is rightly called wonderful for making this available.
Hope you can find a place of worship during this Christmas season. You are most welcome to join us at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge for our Christmas Eve services. We have three services on Sunday, December 23 (8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) with a musical presentation and a message reflecting on the theme of “Wonder.” We also have two services on Monday, December 24 (4 and 6 p.m.) that will include a children’s program designed to retell the wonderful story of Jesus entering the world. Hoping that a sense of wonder will cut through this dark world for many and rekindle a sense of hope. That’s something no Google search will ever give you.
Lloyd Pulley is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge. For more information, visit ccob.org