How Awesome!

“Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).

wonder-and-awe1I read an article Sunday in the newspaper about awe.  There was actually a three-year research project done on awe at UCal Berkley, their report included such awesome 😉 findings as “Awe binds us together,” “Awe helps us see things in new ways,” “Awe makes us nicer – and happier,” and “Awe alters our bodies.”  It also touted “the healing potential of awe.”  Suggestions for finding awe included observing nature, listening to music and one I heartily agree with – putting down the ever present cell-phone and simply looking up. [1]

I don’t dispute any of their findings or suggestions, but the article failed to ask and answer some very important questions, such as “Why do we feel awe?” and “What makes something awe-inspiring?”  I’d like to take a stab at them myself – with the help of the Scriptures.

We feel awe because we were created for worship – and worship is at its purest and truest when it is accompanied by awe.  The article says “Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast or beyond human scale, that transcends our current understanding of things.” (Dacher Keltner)[2]  Is there anything more vast or farther beyond our human understanding than the God of the Universe?  David declared “You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary” (Psalm 68:35)!

What makes something awe-inspiring is when we, in our smallness, stand in the presence of greatness.  I’ve seen the Grand Canyon, and it is awesome, because it is huge and beautiful.  Deuteronomy 7:21 says “The Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.”  When we sense the presence of God we have no other response but awe.  Actually, when we truly sense the awesome presence of God we cannot stand at all.

Still, the most important question is, “What happened to our sense of awe?”  Sin happened. Pride happened.  The sin of Adam and Eve, at its root, is the sin of pride.  Where pride reigns, we lose the necessary humility to be awed.  My friend, if you ponder the fact that the holy, sovereign God of heaven and earth has singled you out for salvation and relationship and eternal life you should be humbled and awed.  Nothing is more incredible, more grand and glorious and more awe-inspiring than that.

[1] Paula Spencer Scott, “Feeling Awe May Be the Secret to Health and Happiness,” Parade, Sunday, October 9, 2016, 6-8.

[2] Dacher Keltner is a psychologist who heads the University of California, Berkeley’s Social Interaction Lab and helped create the new Facebook response button emojis.

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Author:

I am first a Christian, then a wife and mom, a church administrator, Bible study teacher, speaker and writer. My heart's desire is to know God and make Him known.

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