Monday 6 January 2020

The Need to Reignite Wonder in Adulthood

wonder for adults
photo credit: The Backyard Missionary

Holding my grandmother’s hand we walked up the stairs and down the long dark corridor to her bedroom. As she quietly rummaged through dresser drawers to find a missing birthday card for the recipient in waiting I stood in the middle of her room. My grandma was an artist and knew the most valuable aspect of any exceptional piece of art: light. It was artistic wisdom that I would later inherit as I fell in love with photography and have been chasing the beauty of light ever since. Her home was filled with strategically crafted light that would entice you to linger in any corner of her house. Her bedroom was no exception. As I stood there waiting, I watched the light from her two small lamps dance around the room kissing every surface with a warm and inviting glow. Absorbing that moment with all my senses I can still tell you the smell of her perfume that night, the feel of the soft wrinkly carpet under my tiny feet, the sound of her quiet breath as she rustled through papers, the muffled sound of the birthday party voices one floor below. Like a picture frozen in time, yet oddly interactive, it's permanently placed in my memory storage bank. It was a moment of childhood wonder that has become a part of my mental photo album of younger years.

This Christmas we sat in that very home, my Grandma no longer with us, my Grandpa weathered by time. I looked around the living room and could see the ghosts of moments from time gone past in every corner. Once again, the wonder of childhood washed over me, soothing my soul like the quiet hush of my grandmother’s voice that I so dearly miss. It occurred to me in that moment how my rushed life had crept in and stolen my sense of wonder. No longer driven by curiosity the need to complete the mundane and move on has taken over.

I watched my kids as they vibrated with excitement from the day, so tired, and yet, unwilling to stop absorbing the sweetness of the day unfolding around them. I knew that night would be etched forever in their scrapbook of life hidden away in their hearts, and I wished that their sense of wonder would linger, knowing fully that if not protected it too would fade. 

What is wonder?

Wonder is that moment where curiosity, awe, and amazement collide. A moment where our brains are challenged to absorb such extraordinary beauty unravelling in front of us. Just for a moment our breathing is slowed, our eyes are wide, and hearts are filled to the brim with contentment so full it’s almost too much to hold. The fullness of wonder often leaking from our eyes as we cry tears of shear delight. 

Wonder is a gift from God, a small treasure from Heaven. It subtly arrives in the unexpected and interrupts the mundane. For a brief moment we are blanketed in fascination and awe as God reveals the most stunning display around us. 

Wonder is placed in everyone of us, partly in anticipation for a time when we will stand before a glassy sea gazing into the fiery eyes of God himself. Can you imagine the wonder we will have when we witness this extraordinary scene for the first time?

At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind…(Rev. 4:2-6)

Wonder is also for right now.

God never meant for wonder to fade with childhood. He meant it to spur us on in awe and amazement of him. Have you ever starred up at the billions of stars on a clear night and been in awe at how many there were? Have you ever stood on the edge of the ocean and listened to the roar of the waves? How about those few seconds of witnessing a baby fill their lungs with the first breath of life? These moment were meant to stir awe in us. They were to ignite a sense of wonder as we stop in the ordinary and long for the extraordinary. Like fuel for our empty tanks, they are sweet drops of Heaven embedding themselves into our hearts, refuelling our worship, and replenishing our joy. 

As adults we must intentionally slow down our lives and reignite this wonder. It strengthens our faith, it deepens our knowledge of God. The rolling thunder across the prairie allows us to hear his power. The brilliance of a harvest sunset reveals the smallest of glimpses of His beauty. The intricacy of a single snowflake reveals how important even the most minute of details are to God. Each one of these a reflection of a time to come. A time when wonder will be in every waking aspect of our lives as we walk in the cool of the evenings once again with God.

It’s time to slow down and wonder.

As a mom I have the benefit of children to help me to see wonder. I can watch them, and take my cue from them. Why have they stopped? What are they gazing at so intently? Their childhood wisdom is bestowed upon me if only I am willing to stop moving and look with them. Wonder is readily given, but only if we are willing to trust God to hold time for the briefest moments (or longer should we be drawn in to linger). Whether your kids are young or grown, the call remains the same. Slow down, wonder at the amazing beauty of the glimpse of God’s goodness in every corner of our world. Gaze with delight at the Heavenly treasures found in the ordinary hours of the day. 

And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” (Luke 5:26)


all photo credits The Backyard Missionary


  1. I love the part where you say slow down ans glimpse God's beauty in every cornwr of the world. It made me think of my own world where l can miss His beauty because l am so busy.

  2. Yes! So much truth here, and so much we miss out on by flying through life not stopping to “smell the roses” as they say. Thank you for sharing, and encouraging us to slow down and see the wonder.