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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Sense of Wonder

My boys love trains. To indulge them a little, this past weekend we took them to the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad train and carousel rides at a nearby park. It was indeed quite spectacular to ride in a miniature train pulled by a real miniature steam engine built in 1905. My boys were quite mesmerized by it all. After the ride, we stayed near the train station to see other passengers get on and get off and observe the train engineers as they add oil and water to the engine. After the train ride, they rode on the big carousel which brought still more joy.

Of course the train and carousel rides don't fascinate me as much as they fascinate the boys, yet I still have lots of joy just seeing how much they enjoy the rides. My boys are still children thus they still have that wonderful sense of wonder and awe, whereas I've already outgrown these childish delights. To think that I used to work right across the street from that very park and would often jog around this park during my lunch hour. I often saw parents with young children riding the train and the carousel, but I never gave it a second thought. The carousel never fascinated me and I never understood why children like it so much. After all, it's just a fake horse that goes up and down, and the whole thing goes in circles. To top it off, they play that annoying loud music. I know, I know... I'm quite jaded. I grew up in a very impoverished environment and I never got to enjoy or delight in any toys. Wonder and awe were not familiar to me and I do feel I missed out on these during my early growing-up years. However, I'm living vicariously through my young children as they discover new things and take delight in the simplest things.

My children's sense of wonder brought to mind Ravi Zacharias's book Recapture the Wonder. The back cover description sums up the book well.
Deep within all of us is a longing to recapture a sense of wonder, to marvel at the mystery of God and His creation like we did as children. But through the years our capacity for wonder has been stifled by busyness and ambitions, and we have resigned ourselves to explaining away all that once made us gasp in awe. After all, how can we let our hearts believe what our minds tell us is nothing more than childish fantasy?

...Zacharias reveals that our heart's ultimate fulfillment - a life of purpose and meaning - is found in rediscovering and developing our God-given sense of wonder... Zacharias shows that we can not only recapture the innocent sense of wonder we once had, but we can experience wonder in its fullest capacity by yielding to God in awe-inspiring worship. No matter how weary or cynical we have become, we can allow our minds to embrace the deepest desires of our hearts and experience life as God intended it to be.
Even though my perspective is tainted, I'm reminded that I can still recapture that sense of wonder, and it is only through God that I can experience joy and delight. Instead of thinking it is mere childishness, I should have a childlike spirit and wonder in His presence.