Monday, September 01, 2008

From Fear to Awe

I am going to blog every day in September. This first week, I will be talking about awe.

Have we lost our sense of wonder? Of the awe of God’s creation?

Yep. As for me and myself, the answer is yes. I am much more enthralled with a new gadget than I am captivated by a sunset. The words I read in People magazine keep my attention more than the sweet conversation between two three-year olds over ice cream.

Is there hope for someone like me? Can I recapture the sense of curiosity I possessed when I used to stare at the West Texas stars for hours in my backyard? And more importantly, can I begin to recognize and remember that my God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe is present in that puzzled look my dog gets sometimes? He is inherent in the wind blowing through the trees outside my window.

But you know what? I don’t know the name of any of the trees around here. I need to find out.

Brennan Manning, in the Ragamuffin Gospel, wrote:

“Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter…in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a woman’s windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.”

Okay, Brennan. I am up for this.

So with awe on my mind, I set out today on a road trip with the fam.

Our destination? Wherever my husband decided to drive. He loves exploring the Rockies on his motorcycle and became our tour guide of the day. We traveled up past Idaho Springs and took the exit to go up to Loveland Pass. We drove down from there to Breckenridge and ate sandwiches and walked around an open air art festival. Then we drove on to more passes and more incredible views. Our last stop was South Park, the beautiful valley that lies ensconced within the protection of the Rocky Mountains.

When I was a kid, my mother used to get frightened whenever we would drive on mountain passes where the edge of the road resembled a drop-off cliff. I inherited this fear and have worked to get rid of it the past couple of years. But no matter what verse I memorize or song I sing or praise song I blast, whenever I drive up to the mountains I am scared. Plain and simple.

Today, I took another tack. I prayed as I have many times. But this time I simply asked, “God, turn my fear into awe.”

He did. Somewhere in our day, I began to see the greens of the grass and remember that God knew the number of blades. Wow.

I looked at trees slowly, trying to imagine the moment that God created that one single pine. Not the whole forest. Just one long, lovely tree after another.

As John soared around each curve, (He would say he was going slowly) instead of jerking my head toward the left and announcing his speed, I laid my head back and imagined that I was on the back of the wings of the wind, safe in God’s hands.

It worked.

At least a little. I don’t have the kind of wonder I wish I did. My awe of creation has much to be desired. I’m like a kindergartener in Creation Appreciation class.

But today I noticed.

I noticed His presence in the mountains. When I looked over the edges of the highways and peered down into the endless slopes of carefully chiseled rock and sculptured trees and painted grass, a little of that old fear left. Awe slipped in, unannounced.

It was a start. A good one.


Megan DiMaria said...

It sounds like you're off to a great start on this adventure, Robbie.

I can't wait to hear more.

A prisoner of hope,

Bradylake Man said...

"Hurry means that we gather impressions, but have no experiences...

that we collect acquaintances but make no friends...

that we attend meetings but experience no encounter.

We must recover eternity if we are to find time, and eternity is what Jesus came to restore."
D.T. Niles

Great insights sis. The process of learning new ways to encounter the King and enjoy His glory is hard but so richly rewarding. A few years ago, in prep for a WAWG, (weekend alone with God) I bought a Rocky Mountain Flower guidebook. If you are a botanist--you get really excited about that. I am not. But I wanted to try to force myself to slow down even more while out alone and see Him more in the intracacies of His design in flowers. At first it was very tedious and I felt foolish while sitting in the middle of a meadow or forest staring intently at a plant and trying to find it's match in the dumb book. There was lots of technical jargon--but being ignorant of the Joy of Botany I was using the color photos as my guide. Anyway--a few years later now--I've developed a habit of doing this and considering Him and Psalm 139 more closely due to this behavior and it still impacts me to tears--how much love He took in designing us & how much more fond of us He is than any other part of creation. Zowie.
Way to go Robbie!!!

Robbie Iobst said...

Megan, You're right. Following Him leads us to all sorts of adventures, doesn't it?

Phil, I LOVE the Niles quote. Today I am going to go to the library and get a tree book. Imagining you in the forest doing that made me laugh and at the same time love you even more. It's good to have you as my brother!

Danica/Dream said...

Brennan rocks. That's actually the book I'm reading right now. :)