In December of 2013, I pondered what “word of the year” might motivate me in 2014. At the time, I needed a spiritual wake-up call and greater stability in my walk with God. As I prayed, the word “wonder” kept coming to mind.
I decided to commit to the study of wonder by spending months exploring wonder in relation to different characteristics of God and his operation in my life. Then I would praise him for new discoveries and act on what I learned.
My January exploration in the Bible—which I dubbed “Wonder Bread”—was my most extensive study, focusing on Wonder and Worship, the foundation for the rest of the year. I saw for myself strong links between wonder, awe, and worship in the Bible. When I saw God as he is and what he could do, my heart overflowed in worship.
The Israelites declared in Exodus 15, “Who is like you, O LORD . . . majestic in holiness, fearful in praises, working wonders?” The psalmist pointed to God’s wondrous works in Psalm 40, saying, “you have done amazing things . . .” In Luke 5:17–26, after Jesus forgave and healed a paralyzed man, awed onlookers said, “We have seen incredible things today.” The writer of Hebrews encouraged believers in chapter 12, saying, “let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe.” My awesome God deserves worship, and the wonder and worship connection will continue in heaven.
In February, I considered Wonder and Worth. God’s assessment of worth is eternity-based. He wants to determine our priorities. I saw a grander picture of the worthy one as I evaluated my schedule and misplaced affections.
I studied Wonder and Wisdom in March. Fear of God is described as “reverential awe.” For years, I’ve known “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord,” yet I made foolish choices because I forgot to reverence him—stay in awe of him.
In April, I considered Wonder and My Walk with God. The Holy Spirit’s work is wondrous because it is transformational. After I spent much time in heart searching, pondering God’s holiness, he revived my lifestyle, giving me a heart with new attitudes and behaviors.
In May, I thought about the Wonder of My Witness. It astounded me that God called sinners transformed by the gospel—but still sinners—to share the gospel with others. The amazing God used his matchless word and my testimony and changing life to draw people to Christ and help equip the family of God.
In June, I studied Wonder and My Work. Scriptures reminded me God’s power is the true wonder in my work, because apart from him I can do nothing. He is my sufficiency and he desires to do greater works through me.
The study in July, Wonder and My Wishes, empowered me. For years, my misguided, “little God” thinking was, “If I desire something, it must not be of God.” But the psalmist says if we delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. The Lord gave me freedom to dream big dreams. But context matters—God will give us his desires if we delight in him.
In August, I studied Wonder and My Words. I shared stories about God’s amazing faithfulness to my family, and the Lord increased others’ awe of his greatness and goodness. I marveled that my wonder-filled conversations brought life and healing into others’ circumstances.
As I studied September’s topic, Wonder and My Wealth, God revealed how the wise use of my resources could be used to produce lasting kingdom fruit. The wondrous God who created me for his glory desires to use my resources, not for my glory, but to bring honor to him.
Wonder and My Watchfulness challenged my heart in October as I read Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven. I studied scriptures about heaven and watching for the Lord’s return—scriptures that created a greater desire to know my wondrous God and please him.
The Overflow of Wonder
After all these studies, awe filled my heart. I describe the next two months of my commitment to wonder as “the overflow of wonder.”
I spent November praising God and thanking him for my newly-discovered joys in wonder. I also focused on the wonders of creation. The heavens declare God’s glory; one night as I sat beneath the stars, I sensed his wonderful presence as I heard: “I made this for you!”
I also read a daily devotional by biologist David A. Steen titled God of Wonders. This cram-course in creation’s wonders helped me focus on God’s beautiful and sometimes mysterious handiwork.
In December, I focused on giving, serving and encouraging others. The benefits of a year of committed study of wonder expanded as I pointed others to my awesome God. For Christmas, I gave gifts with the word “wonder” on them, and shared a little about my journey.
The world tries to steal our wonder, sometimes our hearts fight the wonder, and Satan conspires against it, but wonder continues to visit my heart. Especially in times of struggle, wonder comforts and inspires me, reminding me who God is, what he can do, and what is valuable in this life.
Throughout 2019 and early 2020, these wonder lessons encouraged me as I struggled with Multiple Myeloma. My commitment to wonder continues to unleash unbelievable power and peace, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. I find I can battle every fear as I rest in and trust my “wonder-full” God.
Cover image by Nathan Dumlao.
Sign Up Today
You don’t have to miss anything. We send out weekly notifications when we publish a new issue. We like you—so we won’t sell your info to Google or the NSA or even advertisers, they probably already have it anyway.